Xavier School

Why an English-medium education?

History of Loyola Xavier School

How is Loyola Xavier school funded?

Which children are enrolled at Loyola Xavier School?


Why an English-medium education?

IMG_2308In Karnataka, a State in Southern India, English-medium education is only offered in private schools.  The qualifications gained at an English-medium school are the most highly sought after throughout India.  Father Eric, founder of Loyola Xavier school soon realized that if educated in English-medium, Dalit children could achieve the same qualifications as privately educated Indian children. In 2004 he enrolled 45 Dalit children aged 8 years old and having had no previous education.  After a few years these students had achieved the same standard as those who had been at an English-medium school since the age of 4.  Loyola Xavier school therefore gives Dalit and other impoverished children the opportunity to attain the very best qualifications, leading on to vocational training, further education opportunities and ultimately, employment opportunities that their parents had never had. Loyola Xavier school is the first school to give these sort of opportunities to Dalit families living in North Karnataka. It receives no government funding and therefore relies on outside charities such as Supporting Dalit Children to fund the running costs of the school, including teachers' salaries, boarding hostel costs, school buses, school uniform, books etc.

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History of Loyola Xavier School

Loyola Xavier School is a unique school for India's poorest children, hence its motto "Reaching the Unreached". The students are Dalits and children from other backward communities and marginalized groups.  Loyola Xavier School was founded in 2004 as part of the Pannur Manvi Mission, by two Indian Jesuits called Father Eric and Father Maxim. The Pannur Manvi Mission is a social mission headed by the current Superior, Father Arun Luis.  The Mission reaches out to serve India's "poorest of the poor". Loyola Xavier School currently educates 1200 children from 75 villages.

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The Fathers' vision is to educate and empower helpless and neglected Dalit children - helpless because Indian society discriminates against them socially, educationally, economically and emotionally. The Fathers have taken a radical stand to prove to society that Dalits have the same talents and gifts as other Indian children, and that if given the right education and pastoral care, these once forgotten children can stand shoulder to shoulder with those from higher castes.

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How is Loyola Xavier school funded?

The school receives no financial aid from the Government, so all running costs such as teachers' salaries, uniform, books, exam fees, food and providing a boarding hostel, are paid for by charitable institutions such as Supporting Dalit Children.  In effect, Loyola Xavier school is a private school but the children's parents can only afford to pay a very small amount towards their child's school fees.  They are asked to give whatever they can afford to give but in reality this is very little.  Their income largely depends on the agricultural harvest as Dalits are either small subsistence farmers and own an acre or two of poor quality land, or they are agricultural labourers called 'coolies'. The quality of a rice or cotton harvest varies from year to year depending on the weather.  If the harvest has been good the parents can afford to pay more towards the school fees, but if the harvest has failed they can afford virtually nothing.  Their contributions vary from year to year, but in reality whatever they give is woefully little and this is why we run a sponsorship programme that pays the lion share of the school fees.

 

As well as helping to fund the day to day costs of the school,Supporting Dalit Children also helps to fund capital projects such as new library books, a new canteen, tailoring schools in the villages, and a new boarding house for 150 boys.  We are currently fund-raising to help towards the building costs of a new boarding house for the girls as the current hostel is no longer big enough to accommodate everybody.  We welcome donations for any of these projects, or sponsoring children so that more children can be enrolled at Loyola Xavier school.

 

Please visit the DONATE page if you would like to make a donation.  One of the advantages of donating through Supporting Dalit Children is that 100% of every pound donated is spent exactly and directly on the project for which is has been given.  Supporting Dalit Children is run voluntarily, so nothing is deducted from any donation for administration or travel expenses.  These costs are funded by the Trustees and their families.

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Which children are enrolled at Loyola Xavier School?

IMG_2361The first priority when enrolling children, goes to the  'poorest of the poor'  - those children who are bonded labourers, those who are severely mal-nourished,  children of the Devadasi (temple prostitutes) - basically all the children living with the greatest needs. Supporting Dalit Children is committed and determined to help provide the educational funding for as many of these children as possible.

 

Loyola Xavier school's first batch of students enrolled were all child labourers.  These students all know and openly talk about how their lives would be so different now had they not been enrolled at this school.  Their outlooks are not self-centred, far from it.  These students, now in further education, are already thinking of how they can help others like them.  One young woman called Navya who is now taking a Masters Degree in Food and Technology, wants to provide employment to local people by establishing a food production business once she has finished her studies.  She also wants to run an orphanage one day, this is how much she wants to give back to the establishment, for all the help she has had with her education.  Navya and her friends are determined to give something back to help their people, as they all know the importance of the opportunities they have been given.  Their parents are illiterate and work every day for pittance wages and yet they have done the best for their children, and now their children want to help them in the future.

 

Manjula was grazing the cows in 2004 when she was asked if she wanted to go to this new school.  She now wants to become a Doctor and eventually build a hospital in her village- there is no health care in her village at present and the nearest hospital is too far away for them to travel to easily.  We recently visited her village and she was so happy for us to meet her mother and eat a meal in her house.  We have no doubts about Manjula achieving her ambition to become a Doctor.  She is the perfect proof that when given the chance of a first-class education in English medium (only taught in private schools), a Dalit girl in India in the 21st century, can succeed alongside any other Indian child.  A sobering thought is that had she not been spotted all those years ago working in her village whilst only 8 years old , she would now be working in the fields and soon be married and confined to bringing up children, trying her best to make ends meet without any life at all.   There are so many young girls still working in the villages, as Manjula once was, and this is why it is so important to give as many children as possible this vital opportunity to then change their life, literally, and have the future they are so capable of having, and deserve to have.

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Supporting Dalit Children, Charity Commission Registration Number 1125102