Isha Vidhya - New Perspectives for Rural Education
"This school is very, very good. It is different from other schools. In other schools, if you tell one thing wrong, they will beat you. Here it is not like that. I like school because the teachers are not beating or scolding us. They are teaching nicely."
- S. Sachin, class II student from Isha Vidhya School, Kurandi, Nagercoil
Isha Vidhya offers a life-changing opportunity to rural children: High quality, English education affordable to even the poorest families. So far, four schools are established in villages near Coimbatore, Erode, Nagercoil and Tuticorin serving a total of 1077 students. The majority of students are covered with need-based scholarships, and parents have already started coming with tears of gratitude as they see their first family member becoming equipped with the education necessary to break out of the cycle of poverty affecting so many of India's rural poor.
For the 2009-2010 academic year, two new Isha Vidhya schools will be opened, one near Villupuram and one near Cuddalore. Cuddalore was devastated by the 2004 Tsunami and Isha Foundation has already done substantial rehabilitation work in the area. Villupuram, located 160 km from Chennai, is an economically weak, agricultural-dependant area with the majority population belonging to. Both communities have responded overwhelmingly in support of the new schools. Bhoomi Pooja (a ceremony to mark the beginning of construction) was held on 23 November for the Villupuram school and on 14 December for the Cuddalore school. A group of volunteers donated land for the Villupuram school and Agility Logistics Pvt Ltd. sponsored the school construction. Isha Foundation's Tsunami Rehabilitation Fund is dedicating the Cuddalore school to the local community as a follow-up to their rehabilitation work in the area.
The vast majority of students at both the new schools will come from very economically deprived backgrounds. Though tuition fees run only Rs. 200 - 300 ($5 - 7) per month, many families will be unable to afford this amount. To make Isha Vidhya accessible to even the poorest of children, a goal of raising 1000 new scholarship donations has been created. More information about the scholarship program is available at http://ishavidhya.org/scholarships.