14. Any further breakdown on the plan/costs (some have wondered that cost might be too low to build a school). Are we going to build the school in different phases? If so then what are the phases and timeframes for that?
17. Starting the project with 300 children may be difficult to manage. Additionally the student-teacher ratio (1:50) may be quite low, considering that lot of children would have disabilities. What does Joy think about the challenges ahead?
is the project background?
After almost a decade of tribal war Manipur is rotten place. For a few privileged people it is make hay while the problem persists. For the majority things are really bad. The popular news here is marriage, divorce, birth, fight and death. Community news and events circle around these events. Death is very frequent. In short, my previous profile on Manipur is very mild one. I found today’s reality much more harsh than that. Men and women of integrity are rare. Men of integrity/honesty are treated as wicked and the wicked are considered as saint by the system. Heartless people rule. There is also division based on religion, tribes, languages etc. This heartless culture is seen permeating slowly into the tribal society. Sharing culture among the tribals is slowly vanishing; being replaced by SHOW OFF culture. In this process, the poor majority looks helpless, hopeless and directionless. Hatreds and selfishness have increased.
Manipur literacy rate is high because the community that lives in plain is very developed in all fields. But the tribal literacy rates remain low. The interest of the two differs. This is sensitive but one must know this fact, else the benefits goes to the former in the name of the later as has been for decades. A tribal educated boy told me that job recruitment is closed for the coming 20 years. Thus all recruitments in the mean time will be done perhaps through nepotism channels. The haves will remain haves and the have-nots will remain the same.
Setting up of an integrated CENTRE remains the most effective long term means to fight against POVERTY, ILLITERACY, DISEASES, AND UNEMPLOYMENT. It may be an integrated center for education, employment generation, training center, ecological regeneration, and tourists spot. All in one. A center from which people come to learn the way/knowledge to live and progress in harmony with other mankind and nature. A center where different tribes and communities are taught to live in harmony and peace
What are the short term and long term objectives?
In the short term the community needs a high quality school with education that can enable students to get job. We will start with grades K through 3 and add one grade every year till class 12. To begin with the school will target 300 students with 6 teachers
The long term objective is to make the school self-sustaining in 5 years. After a year or two we can start admitting students whose parents can afford to pay school fees. They will come once we have good image of the school, good school are rare in this area. 50% of the students will be charged school fees at par with the good schools fees and the other 50% who are poor/ disabled will be given work on the farm attached to the school. Farms will generate employment for people with disabilities, women and poor tribal.
Who is India contact and his/her background?
Contact in India is T. H. Joy email@example.com
T.H. Joy Joy is an extraordinary Asha volunteer and a young tribal from Manipur. He displays a strong sense of duty and dedication to Asha's mission. Joy has managed to rise against harsh and impossibly challenging adversities - being rejected by his father at a young age, grappling with starvation during childhood, watching his mother's losing battle with poverty, witnessing his tribal women going into prostitution driven by economics, managing to get through school with dignity despite being misunderstood and beaten, being the only person from his school to pass out of 80 students, getting through a highly competitive national exam and landing a govt job, and through it all maintain commitment to help his tribal people in the Manipur villages.
the US contact?
Jagdish Chander (Jags) firstname.lastname@example.org
Where is the exact location of the project?
It is in a village (LEINGANCHING) in the Ukhrul District of Manipur bordering Nagaland (IN MY TRIP TO MANIPUR, VILLAGES I VISITED, INVARIABLY PERSUADED ME TO ESTABLISH ASHA SCHOOL IN THEIR RESPECTIVE VILLAGE, SHOWING THE MOST BEAUTIFUL AREAS WILLING TO DONATE FOR THE SAME FREELY WITH FREE LABOUR FOR LEVELLING GROUNDS. BUT MY VIALLGE IS LOCATED IN THE CENTRE OF THE 13 SARROUNDING VILLAGES. THEREFORE, IT WAS CHOSEN).
Will this project cater to a village a town
or a whole district? How will these
children travel to and fro from the school?
Most of the kids would be from the area around the location of the school. Children living at a distance of more than two miles will be staying in the residential facility. Children will be selected on the bases of need and the ones staying in the surrounding area will be given priority. However, the most marginalized children like the disabled children, orphans, etc. can be admitted from any where in the district or even the state or the region of north-eastern region of India depending upon the needs of the children. At the same time, the long-term goal is to have some children from well to do families who are going to be charged regular fee once the school is establish as a popular school. These children can also be from anywhere in the district or the state.
Why doesn't this project take up the govt
school building to run the school or
the the teachers in the project get govt job to teach in the tribal area?
The government school building is in ruins and it is not easy to deal with the corrupt and non-functional government machinery. The teachers are employed in the government school, but, in practice, they remain non-functional in the absence of any kind of accountability and it is not easy to deal with the government bureaucracy.
The children who are proposed to be beneficiaries to the project what school are
they going to now? What other schools are present apart from the
non-functioning Govt. school?
Most of them are not going to school. Most kids are enrolled in the non-functional government school in the village, but that enrolment is basically on paper and nothing is happening in practice. There is some private school in the nearby area, but, most parents are not able to afford to pay for children’s education and so even that school is not in a good position to impart a quality education as it does not get many children to go there and is not able to afford a reasonable salary to its employees. Some of the teachers employed in that school are paid less than a thousand rupees and so it is not able to employ qualified teachers
What does it cost to construct the school and how long does it take?
DEPEND ON THE MATERIAL USED IN THE CONSTRUCTION. WE CAN CHOOSE RANGES FROM 2 LACS USING VILLAGE PRODUCTS TO SEVERAL LACS USING CEMENTS BRICKS AND IRONS. BUT WE HAVE CHOOSEN FOR THE FORMER AS FUND RAISING IS THE PROBLEM. IT SHOULD TAKE ABOUT A MONTH OR A COUPLE. IAM READY TO TAKE ONE AND HALF MONTH LEAVES FOR THE CONSTRUCTIONS TO ENSURE ECONOMY, EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS
What are the options for land?
There are two options. (1) To construct in my farm which is about 150 square meters. Cost is free. Or (2) Invest about one and half lacs for about one Km square land (extendable) which can be developed into a model for school and farms centre (integrated one).
Who has the ownership of the land on which the school will be built. If we
get some funding now how will this be handled? Where will the construction
and under whose name the land will be under?
The land is/will be under Manipur Asha Tribal Chapter’s name. It was earlier under my Parivar/Family’s name which we donated to the proposed school of Asha verbally. As is the case in tribal customs before witnesses, but since this question has become a concern for many of you, we are taking written documents for the same, which will be sent to you once I get the copy of it.
TRIBAL LANDS ARE BASICALLY DIVIDED INTO TWO CATEGORIES: (A) PERMANENT CULTIVABLE LANDS WHERE WATER IS AVAILABLE. THIS LAND IS CULTIVATED EVERY YEAR AND THEY ARE REGISTERED UNDER THE DISTRICT AUTHORITY. ABOUT 5% OF TRIBAL LAND CONSISTS OF THIS TYPE. SECOND CATEGORY CONSISTS OF REMAINING 95% OF LAND THAT IS NOT CULTIVABLE ON PERMANENT BASIS.THIS LAND IS OWNED BY VILLAGE COMMUNITY. ANY VILLAGER CAN USE ANY AREA OF LAND HE NEEDS AND AS LONG AS HE USES, THAT PORTION BELONGS TO HIM. BUT WHEN HE STOPS USING THE LAND, IT AUTOMATICALLY GOES BACK TO COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP.
WHEN NGO OR GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS, CONSTRUCT A SCHOOL OR ANY INSTITUTION FOR PROMOTION OF SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE TRIBAL AREAS, THE COMMUNITY(TRIBAL) OF THE AREA INVARIABLY DONATE LAND FREELY, AND AS LONG AS THE SCHOOL/INSITUTION CARRRY ON THEIR WORK, THE AREA DONATED FOR THE PURPOSE REMAIN UNDER ITS (GOVT/NGO) OWNERSHIP. IN CASE OF DISCONTINUITY (ABONDONING) OF SUCH SCHOOL/INSTITUTION, THE NGO/GOVT CONCERN HANDS BACK THE LAND OVER FREELY TO THE SAME TRIBAL COMMUNITY FROM WHOM THEY GOT THE SAME. THIS COMMUNITY OWNED LAND, IN SIMPLE WORDS, IS NOT USUALLY SOLD.
NON-TRIBAL INDIVIDUAL CONNOT OWN ANY LAND PRIVATELY, BUT ANY NON-TRIBAL ORGANISATION, INCLUDING GOVT,NGO OR ASHA,ETC. CAN USE LAND DONATED BY THE COMMUNITY. THIS IS HOW GOVT./NGO SCHOOLS ARE ESTABLISHED AND BEING RUN IN THE TRIBAL AREAS ALL OVER INDIA.
THIS IS THE FIRST HAND INFORMATION RECEIVED FROM THE IAS OFFICER WHO PERSONNALLY ADMINISTERED A TRIBAL DISTRICT FOR 4 YEARS AS DC. HE IS WILLING TO HELP IN CASE OF ANY PROBLEMS IN THE FUTURE. HE TOO IS VERY HAPPY ABOUT OUR PROJECT AS HE HIMSELF WAS ON THE GROUND AND FELT THE NEED OF SUCH A PROGRAM. HE SAID THAT THERE WAS.IS AND WILL NOT BE ANY PROBLEM AS FAR AS LAND IS CONCERNED IN CONSTRUCTION OF SUCH DEVELOPMENTAL SCHOOLS.
THE LAND I DONATED TOO COMES UNDER THE SAME LAW, THAT IS ONCE I DONATED, IT CAN NEVER EVER BE MINE AGAIN. IT WILL BE FOR THE SCHOOL AS LONG AS IT CONTINUES. BUT IF ASHA MANIPUR CHAPTER/INDIA WANTS TO CLOSE THE SCHOOL, THEN THE LAND WILL GO DIRECTLY BACK TO THE VILLAGE COMMUNITY
Who is going to manage the project if Joy is held up in Delhi?
I (Joy) WILL BE THE MAIN COORDINATOR, AND TAKE THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ALL THE ACCOUNTIBILITIES FOR ANY ACTION. ONCE THE SCHOOL IS CONSTRUCTED, MANIPUR ASHA TRIBAL CHAPTER'S BOARD, CONSISTING OF 5 MEMBERS WILL SELECT THE GROUND LEVEL WORKERS AND TEACHERS. THERE ARE INDEED MANY QUALIFIED AND WILLING PEOPLE WHO WANT TO WORK WITH US, BUT I CANNOT FURNISH THEIR NAMES NOW AS WE WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH INTERVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS BY THE BOARD
Any further breakdown on the plan/costs (some have wondered that cost might
be too low to build a school). Are we going to build the school in
different phases? If so then what are the phases and timeframes for that?
THERE WILL BE TWO PHASES OF CONSTRUCTION. NOW WE WILL CONSTRUCT 8 ROOMS FOR UPTO CLASS 5 AND A HOSTEL, AFTER THREE YEARS WE WILL CONSTRUCT 4 MORE ROOMS FOR HIGHER CLASSES. WE WILL ADMIT FROM CLASSES - NURSERY TO CLASS 3, AND EVERY YEAR WE WILL ADD ONE CLASS
Starting the project with 300 children may be difficult to manage.
Additionally the student-teacher ratio (1:50) may be quite low, considering that lot of
children would have disabilities.
What does Joy think about the challenges
Joy felt there was lot of expectation from the parents of children and it was difficult to turn down one group of children over the other. Besides, joy said he had done lot of ground work and talked to the local community and there was lot of enthusiasm for this project. Joy felt it was in the interest of the community to have more than 300 children educated by the project. Besides, he also felt that the student-teacher ratio of 1:50 may be sufficient to start with and more teachers may be added to the program later. DP also felt that looking at the local conditions, we should go with what the ground volunteers feel is right for the project. DP will visit the project before the end of the year and try to get a better sense of the conditions and the children in the area.
What is the local demographics in the area?
The local population is fairly illiterate (exact numbers not known). Joy is the only graduate from the 13 surrounding villages. Besides, there is a massive school dropout in the surrounding areas.
What is the curriculum?
Pretty much similar to what is taught in govt schools. Subjects to get priority are English grammar, maths, sciences, commerce, economics and Hindi. These are the subjects that can enable students to get good jobs (a reality). Therefore, it is logical to make students learn these subjects right from the beginning. Quality education will not only ensure jobs for Asha's children and ignite the chain reaction, but it will also generate good school fees from able parents to achieve no loose no profit level. Thus quality education is a must
Have other NGOs started schools in the surrounding regions in the past?
(Joy) don’t know. Ajay suggested finding about other like-minded local organizations in the area who have done educational development work in the past
Who are the board members and their backgrounds?
I (Joy) have done all the ground works in my last trip (Feb’03) to Manipur. The Five Board Members will consist of the following: (1) Village Chief of Leingangching village, (2) Mr. Yaima, who worked in the area for about ten years as police. He is now retired, (3) The Army Commandant of the area. His involvement is important as the school will get some help from the army, like learning national anthem, and other activities related to parade, (4) M.K. Thang, He have work as a teacher for the last 8 years. He also had agreed to head our school long time back. If he is still available he will head our school, and (5) Myself (T.H. Joy), Assistant DOP, Armed forces Headquarters. (if required, we will add a couple more). So this Board consists from various work of life. I am involving them, so that they feel involved, then only we could get some cooperation in the project operation
What are the requirements for teachers?
Teachers would require basically salary. We will require two Graduate/postgraduate teachers, with Rs.3000/- salary each; two intermediate teachers with Rs.2000/- each pm. And two class X passed teachers with Rs. 1,600/- salary each. At least two years of teaching experience is required from them (teachers coming to tribal area is a challenge in itself).
We will be recruiting experienced teachers, so after one month Orientation Course the teachers could directly start their work. We will be having summer training for the teachers for which resource persons will be invited from Asha chapters in India or outside India. Our school will acts as an information and training center for the tribals in the area as there is no such center in that part of the world. So lots of activities will take place in the school
What is the budget and cost breakdown for the school?
About Rs. 600,000 may be broken up as follows
Rs. 400,000 for school construction, classroom tables, benches, and other related infrastructures (Rs. 2,00,000/- school building construction. Rs.35,000/- for furniture, Rs. 25,000/- for toilets construction, Rs. 75,000/- for residential buildings, Rs. 20,000/- for Generator, Rs. 20,000/- for bio-gas plant, Rs. 25,000/- levelling ground, and road modifications)
Rs. 158,400 for one year teachers' salaries
Rs. 41,600 for children school uniforms, sport items, school maintenances etc.
Phase 1 Spending
Rs. 180,000 (one-time expense) for school construction up to grade 3 & Rs. 158,400 (recurring expense) for salaries of 6 teachers for one year
With this budget we can start off with at least 250 students (this is very small number looking at the ground needs). QUALITY EDUCATION are the watch words. We must try our best to get qualified teachers by paying a matching salaries (very important)