Rupa was back again, and this time during school time to show one of the parents and teachers how to make and prepare the hot lunch for the children.
But first, Rupa being a teacher in Bandipur wanted to spend a little time with some of the children asking them questions and introducing herself. You can see in images 1 to 5 how good a job she was doing, their eyes were captured and had that look that all teachers love, and what is often a sign of a good teacher. Keeping the attention of your children or at least trying your best to for a majority of the time. As you know, things never go to plan especially when you work with children or animals, as the saying goes.
As for the other teachers all 5 teachers are working well, with some of the students being kept busy and attending school on a regular basis. However, there are maybe too many who don’t make it due to responsibilities at home and again the lack of understanding within the community of the importance of education, which the project is hoping to change. We also want to help the teachers with training, and many have asked for this so they can improve their teaching methods and feel more confident. With of course the children benefiting from such training, the ultimate goal.
Also, sadly, 8 of the local girls were withdrawn from school at the end of last year, because of such responsibiilities their families feel their needed to help at home. We all at the project find this really upsetting, as these girls will never access education now (or we hope in the future have adult education, an area we want to look into). Clearly, one of our ongoing commitments is promoting the school and the education it provides, so that all families will continue to send their children.
The Aandhimul Project has now taken responsibility for paying the wages of 3 teachers and a caretaker, totalling approximately US$200 per month. As of April 2009 we hope to have Mon Bhujel working full time on the project, will shall confirm this in the new year. And also Angela, Jolana and me are planning to go for that time too, again confirmation to come. In that period of time we want to heavily focus on the school with training, workshops and many more things, details to come in the new year.
So back to today. You can see in image 7, Rupa, in purple, and two other ladies happily cooking away by the side of the school. Then in images 8 to 10 you can see what is one of the most important lessons to the children, washing your hands and keeping them clean for eating. Then in images 11 to 15, the children are served their first hot lunch at school, with at first many looking at it the way I first did, slightly bemused. But most, after the first spoonful, seemed to take it straight down and many were back for seconds.
It turned out to be a good day, however, more thought needs to go into how and where the food should be cooked and also the maintainance of the equipment and bowls. The biggest issue being limited access to water. Which I shall hopefully be addressing in the following blog.