Tuesday, 11 October 2016

First classes have started & working on a crowdfunding campaign!

The touristic season has started again now and we are happy to host nice people from interesting countries at the homestay!

Along with this we are very busy, as we have also started working towards opening our new school! A few weeks ago, we went to meet some children in the neighborhood we knew would be interested (one of them being the 4-year old Vio used to teach in 2009!) to inform them of the opening of our English & environmental awareness class. Everybody has been knowing Vio for a long time, so we think it won't take long to find more children. Some of the ones we have found have already told us they would bring a few friends along the next time..

Our first class, in the front room of the house!And so classes "officially" started on 26 September! Only English for now. Monsoon has been terrible for our potential terra cotta local, so it looks like a jungle now, and it would cost far too much money to put it to any use! So we have started classes at home, sometimes in our front room where we keep the motorbike, sometimes in a guestroom that's not rented! So far we've have up to 16 pupils, but not always the same ones come, and some do come but not all the time! It's India and it will probably take quite some time to have a "stable" classroom so to speak, so teaching is a little experimental for now...

Class in one of our guest roomsKeeping the partnership with French pupils in mind, we are trying to accept only pupils of a level approximately equivalent to a French sixth class. Being too absolute about it would be impossible, as children's age does not necessarily match school level here. Some kids start school late because their parents do not care enough about education or because they were too poor to send them to school before. Many families and hence children don't take education as seriously as in the West, missing school for way more excuses than Westeners do, and basically some children start school early while others start late. Oh, and as we have explained before, progressing at school does not necessarily mean progressing in English.

So we have basically been accepting any children on the following basis:

  • "Approximate level of English": the pupil should read and write the English alphabet pretty fluently, even if s/he doesn't understand what she reads and writes.
  • Age: we have accepted children between 10 and 16 years of age, based on their motivation and aforementioned level of English.
  • Class in official school: we have accepted children whose levels vary between 4th and 10th class! For instance, one of our pupils started school late so he is 11 years old but only studies in class 4, but he writes English well. Another is in class 10 but her level of English is similar to that of the previous pupil. 
  • Pupils coming from the Old Village of Khajuraho, or from another village if they (or their parents) have shown strong motivation to come to our school. We do not accept children who come from the town center of Khajuraho, as they usually have access to better education.
Along with the opening of the school, (or should we only call it 'class' for now!) we are currently writing for a crowdfunding campaign to gather some funds...

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