KIRF INDIA has established three Education Centers in acutely poor rural villages using existing village structures and with active community support. Over 450 children of the lowest caste (called Dalit--formerly known as "untouchable"), have been given a chance for a better life with an academic education that often includes health and medical care. Funds are needed for school supplies, teachers’ salaries , medical supplies and nutritious food for those suffering from malnutrition.
Many children who are eager to learn are turned away due to lack of resources.
Children are assigned to classes by ability and not by age. For example, some girls began their education at eleven years of age. We take every precaution to be sensitive to these situations and in no way cause them embarrassment.
Attendance at our centers is considerably less during the hot dry summer months and the harvest season in this aguarian area. Many students either work in the fields or care for siblings while the adults are in the fields.
During a class the students sit on mats on the floor of government community buildings which are loaned to the village and KIRF INDIA as temporary school buildings.
Each class has a blackboard and each student has four subject textbooks and stationary for lessons that have been provided by KIRF INDIA in accordance with Indian educational standards. The centers operate from 9 am – 1:30pm in the winter and in the summer classes begin at 7:00 am. Some of the children go home for lunch but the majority stay at the school and play. Due to the local poverty and the scarce resources of the schools, many school days have, in essence, a Lunch with No Lunch for the students. As often as possible, KIRF INDIA delivers nutritious snacks to these students.
Kirwin James International School
In 2009 KIRF INDIA opened the doors of its newest school: Kirwin James International School. The school is situated on about 3 1/2 acres of land purchased by the Indian charitable trust in the rural village of Shekhwara. It is about 10 kilometers from United Nations World Heritage Site and Buddhist pilgrimage destination Bodhgaya, India. The school and its skilled and enthusiastic teaching staff
is made possible by many generous Indian and international donors and volunteers. The school is making a lasting change improving the future for many children and families in the area.
The Kirwin James International School currently providesprimary levels of instruction for 110-120 local students and is in accordance with the highest Indian national educational standards and curriculum. The main school building contains five classrooms and holds free classes of yoga and art on Saturday mornings. There are four teachers on staff. Since early 2012, the school has modern enclosed bathrooms and washbasins. Water is a scarce resource in this arid region and the school boasts three wells on it's property. The precious well water is necessity for the health of its students and faculty (especially during the hot months) and is shared freely with local village women and their families. Due to endemic theft in the region, a security guard is on the premises and a security wall is planned to be built once adequate funds are raised.
In addition to its academic programs, the school provides weekly family health care services at it's free Health Clinic that is open on Saturdays. The clinic features gender-seperate examination rooms and a female healthcare worker experienced in reproductive health care for women and girls. Vocational skills training and certificates of achievement are earned by local young women at the school's popular Sewing Center. Basic literacy instruction is also provided for the mostly illiterate teen and adult students of the Sewing Center. A carpentry workshop for a vocational training program for young men is in the works. it's set-up is planned for after the construction of the school's much needed security wall.
The shade trees planted by local villagers was made possible by a generous organization. A grove of fruit trees is planed for the property as a sustainable source of food, shade and beauty for the students and staff.
KIRF INDIA's weekly Health Clinic sees up to 65 patients each Saturday. KIRF INDIA has sponsored many surgeries and has saved lives in emergency situations.
Common health problems that are treated include malnutrition, anemia, cleft lip and palate, polio deformities, club foot and injuries sustained in accidents (falling down a well, burns from cooking oil, etc.), infections and women's reproductive and pre-natal health issues.
KIRF INDIA's jeep provides emergency transportation for its health patients as well.
The Health Clinic's educational programs include: AIDS Awareness and Prevention, Family Planning, Women’s Reproductive Health and Pre-Natal Care, Immunizations, Hygiene and Nutrition.
KIRF' INDIA's Sewing Center trains young women vocational skills in order to help them support their families and to empower them as valuable wage earners. With a vocational skill such as sewing or embroidery, these women have more freedom and status within their community. The sewing center is open four days a week and employs one sewing teacher. Even during the hotest summer months when temperatures exceed 40* Celsius (over 100* Fahrenheit) , the Sewing Center is packed with students and has a waiting list of young women waiting to get in.