We are so excited to be sharing this photo of a new classroom being constructed at Hunar Ghar. It marks the first phase in our expansion plans to enable all children in Bakhel to access a meaningful education.
Last year we did an analysis of our educational successes, and found that we had unprecedented enrolment and retention rates, as well as learning outcomes 20-30% higher than the rural Rajasthan state average for our 258 children.
We were extremely proud. But there are over 500 children in the village of the right age to attend Hunar Ghar who are not in school. It was immediately clear what we had to do – expand our success so that every child in the village can, in time, enrol at Hunar Ghar and have the opportunity to learn, as well as benefiting from our child health protection work.
In October we set about planning how to achieve this. We developed a 7-year business plan. We worked out that we would need to enrol up to 90 children a year for the next few years to be able to enrol all children born in Bakhel into Reception. We set out how we would go about ensuring that we would have the facilities and resources to support them through Hunar Ghar to Standard 8.
Our planning meant that we’d need three new classrooms by July 2015 for our first new enrolment, plus a fourth classroom for a class of children that have spent this year using the staff room as a their learning space, such is the demand for school places at Hunar Ghar.
A generous grant from the British & Foreign School Society and a highly successful crowdfunder later and we are fully funded for our expansion work. We are extremely pleased that renowned architect Yatin Pandya agreed to design the rooms for us, in keeping with existing buildings in Bakhel.
In his blog post earlier this week, our patron, Matt Barbet, shared what he felt when we built the first four classrooms in 2007. It’s the same feeling today, 8 years on, as construction is underway again.
With each new classroom we are creating new happy, healthy futures for more children of one of the most marginalised communities in India. We fully intend to transform the life opportunities of children in Bakhel, and as of this week we are a great step closer towards doing just that.
We are so so grateful to everyone that supported the crowdfunder, the BFSS, and all those involved in this successful expansion project. We couldn’t have done without you.