The Omkarananda Educational Society

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The Omkarananda Educational Society 

The Omkarananda Educational Society gives the invaluable gift of education to those that need it most. Currently it sponsors around 39 Primary and Junior High Schools in the remote villages of the Garhwal Himalayas.

Students and well wishers of Patanjala Yoga Kendra opened their hearts and requested Omkarananda Educational Society to carry out a special project to further develop a school called Omkarananda Shishu Shiksha Niketan, which is giving the poor village community hope for future generation.

This school is situated 50 km north of Rishikesh, at an altitude of 1300m, in a remote hill village Khadi, where local farmers grow wheat and rice. Surrounded by the beautiful Himalayan Mountains it has around 60 children and conducts classes from Nursery Class up to Class V.

After visiting the school we felt that the building needed renovation. Now the walls and floors have been renovated, new tables have been provided and the front side of the school has been covered so the children can sit outside during the classes.

Restoring the building, introducing uniforms and adding some color to these small children's lives might be simply taken as a visual, external change but has vast and substantial meaning. This example of humanitarianism has brought a breath of fresh air to these villagers’ lives and has put hope and optimism into their hearts.

The community learns the lesson of helping others selflessly while the students benefit from a more comfortable and creative educational environment. The work done gives them a chance to improve their academic achievements and future prospects.To see the children's shining eyes and happy smiles is worth all the effort.

At present we are working to provide the school with electricity, a school gate and a wall. Future plans include providing the school with an extra room for computers, a toilet and free uniforms for all students.

With people's good will we often receive used garments, such as sweaters, jackets, trousers, gloves, socks, caps, rain boots etc., which we distribute to the poor students and their families for the cold season.

We are very thankful to all our supporters. Since the new school year started in April the students have greatly benefitted from a surrounding that is much more conducive to their studies.

 
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Visiting Omkarananda Shishu Shiksha Niketan Schoolby Oryan Jucht

One sunny morning Usha, Narender, Vinod (the marionette bird) and myself, Oryan, visited Omkarananda Shishu Shiksha Niketan. The school accommodates nearly 60 children. The school building consists of four basic rooms with the two back rooms having no windows and as such no lighting. In the two front rooms two lessons were being conducted, one to the oldest students, a group of 10 year olds, the other to the four year olds who completely captured our attention.

Since the back rooms have no light, two classes took place outside under some shade recently provided by the Omkarananda Educational Society. Frankly, I was quite jealous of those students writing conscientiously in their notebooks while sitting outside. Only one small glance was needed to take in the natural, peaceful view of the great Himalayas and to feel inspired.

The students’ behavior astounded us. They were so polite, sincere in their studies and well-disciplined. Even unattended, the small ones went on with the lesson, each in turn going up to the board to read in Hindi and English.

We were greeted with chai and the children performed Hindi songs and dances. We gave the school some simple toys; balls, a badminton set, carrom board, rings and a harmonium. We also brought skipping ropes which only one girl knew how to use. Usha challenged the students to a skipping competition for her next visit. A water tank was also provided because the school has no running water.

However, this visit would not have been as special without the star guest Vinod. He surprised everyone by popping out of Narender's bag and greeting the children who did not understand where this big, fluffy, pink bird came from. This talking marionette scared some children as they had never seen anything like it, but by the end of the visit they were kissing and hugging it. Vinod liked it so much that he did not want to leave.

There are so many things in this world, electricity, running water, a toilet that all seem trivial to us but to others they are not taken for granted. Not even for one moment did I feel pity for these children who live surrounded by such breathtaking nature but there is no doubt that this school and many others like it need help. Help will provide the pupils with a more comfortable environment to study in, with light not only on sunny days and a variety of games to play at break time.

We are often not aware of the change we can bring to our neighbours’ lives. Only a small gesture from us would help to dramatically improve their situation.

For more information visit: www.iyengaryoga.in.  Or if you too would like to help please contact Usha Devi.

Vladimir Malutin