Educate for Life 2018-2019 School year Activities

The Foundation has continued it’s support of Hunar Ghar school in Bakhel, Northern Rajasthan, having recently provided funds to provide the children a total of about 30,000 meals over this academic year.

In addition, we have extended The Foundation’s involvement in provision of sports and physical fitness education by providing funds to allow for the appointment of a full time P E teacher and the purchase of necessary sports equipment.

Some photos and a short video of the children participating in yoga classes, run by the PE teacher, and kabaddi have been sent to us (please see below). Hunar Ghar is now in a small kabaddi league (for both girls and boys) and so will have regular competitive games.

Click here to take a look at the latest Educate for Life newsletter for more details of all their programmes.

The Foundation also has provided Hunar Ghar with funds to enable the school to repeat last year’s successful sports day, to which eight other schools in the area will be invited to participate. As last year, the funds will be sufficient for all set up, transportation and equipment costs and for food for all participants and their families (probably around 1,000 people) over the three day event, scheduled for 17-19 January. Karine and Chris are aiming to travel to Bakhel to attend this year.

The kitchen team continue to do a grand job of preparing hundreds of meals each day. The new kitchen facilities are taking shape but there is still outstanding work to be done so meals are being prepared in a classroom at the moment. It was impressive to see so many roti being rolled and cooked at speed. The food was delicious and all the children had their fill. The sight of two three year olds leaving the school hand in hand after lunch with small bags of food to take home to their families was humbling. It is good to know though that no food is wasted.

Click here to find out how the meals are prepared for so many.

Finally (for now) the reverse osmosis water purification system for which The Foundation paid had recently been coming under attack from mice chewing through pipes and cables and so we have provided funds for the armouring of sensitive and exposed parts of the system to thwart such attacks!

Hunar Ghar students compete with regional schools in the local Kabaddi League inaugural game.

Educate for Life Sports Day Pledge

When JT and Chris visited Hunar Ghar school in October 2017, they discussed with Ed and the team the possibility of sponsoring a sports event, sport being so important in Greg’s life. Through subsequent exchanges, the Foundation has agreed to sponsor the next Hunar Ghar sports day event, which enables Hunar Ghar school and Educate for Life (the charity running the school) to reach out to other communities in the area. 

The two day event will see some 1,500 children and their parents attend each of the two days. The Foundation is funding the full, preparation, transport, set up and running costs for the two days, including food on both days for all attendees. 

Depending upon the date which the school decides to hold the event, if possible, Chris and/or Karine and/or JT are hoping to attend this two day event.

In addition to sports recognised in European school sports days, there are a couple of traditional games which are played. If you are curious about two of these traditional games, please click on these links : kabbadi and kho kho 

October 2017 Update

Earlier this year, the reverse osmosis water treatment system funded by The Foundation was installed in the school and the children of Hunar Ghar now, for the first time, have clean fresh water for drinking and washing.

Chris and JT visited Hunar Ghar in Bakhel, in a remote and rural area of Rajasthan, in early October to see for themselves the work being done in the school and with the local community. Having been told by Ed in advance of their trip how much the children enjoy volleyball (and that the balls often are punctured by the shrubs and bushes surrounding the playing field area), Chris and JT took with them a supply of 10 balls and a few frisbees for the children to play with.

They spent a fascinating day with Ed Forrest and Rahul (and other colleagues of theirs), traveling together from Udaipur to Bakhel, giving plenty of opportunity to learn more about the development and future plans for Hunar Ghar school and the Educate For Life charity’s work in the region providing advice and assistance to other schools to improve the lives of children and standard of education for the poorest of communities.

Chris and JT heard how the treated water, taken from the school’s well, has positively impacted the school and the wellbeing of the children, whom, they were told, are immensely proud that their school is the only school in the area to have such a facility. The school doctor explained the health benefits to the children and both Chris and JT sampled the water.

The Foundation also is providing food for three classes for the year and Chris and JT were shown the kitchen where the food was prepared and then ate their delicious midday meal with the kids. The school kitchen now provides 500 children a day with a healthy, nutritious meal and the kitchen facilities are stretched in so doing, and so the school has plans to build a new kitchen, for which 55% of the funding has now been secured, but for which the school is looking for the balance of 44% (about £8,000 is still needed).

In addition to the 500 school children and teachers, several small children from the surrounding area, who do not attend the school, turned up with bowls and patiently waited on the steps for everyone in the school to be fed before approaching the kitchen staff and asking for food. Ed referred to these children as their VIP Guests!

Chris and JT also went with Rahul and two other colleagues to visit two families in the village who had children who had missed school for a few days. This initiative is to check on the health and wellbeing of the children, to ensure the provision of any necessary medical treatment and to encourage parents to send their children to school if there are no medical reasons for their absence.

The children clearly were happy and engaged and the work being done in Hunar Ghar will give this next generation insight and opportunities of which they would not otherwise have been able even to contemplate. The Foundation will continue with its commitment to support the incredible work being done by Ed and his colleagues.

Educate for life

Through a friend in Dubai, Karine and Chris were introduced to Ed Forrest, one of the two primary players in establishing this charity, which serves the community in Hunar Ghar, a marginalised community in a remote area of rural Rajasthan. Karine and Chris learned that Ed would be passing through Mumbai on his way from Hunar Ghar to Europe at the time that they were in India and so changed their travel plans to meet with Ed in Mumbai.

Again, we would encourage you to look at their website for the full story ( but Karine and Chris learned a lot from their meeting with Ed. Read more about Educate for Life in their latest newsletter.

The school currently has 412 students, all of whom are first generation learners, coming from a largely illiterate village which, inevitably, has presented certain challenges, but the results are being seen. In their recent Standard V exams, 100% of the students sitting the government exams in Hindi, English, Maths and Environmental Science were awarded an overall average A (or in some cases A+) grade! That would have been impossible to imagine being possible when Ed and Akshay Patel, who met at University,  started out on this project 7 years ago.

The school also acts as a hub for community development and Ed and his colleagues provide support from the early stages of pregnancy through to adulthood by focussing on maternal and child healthcare, education and mentoring. They arrange for a mobile clinic to visit the village twice a month, they arrange childhood vaccinations and they ensure that mothers give birth in clean surroundings with medical staff on hand.

Their ongoing project is to change the way that schooling is delivered in rural India, taking the model they have developed and the successes they have achieved to work with government authorities to improve schooling, more generally. Ed gave Karine and Chris some truly horrendous statistics about the number of annual teaching days which actually are delivered to children in rural India, what with schools being closed 50% of the time, teachers being absent 75% of the time and then other holidays, inevitable sickness absences etc. In some schools this can mean a child receiving education for a number of days in single digits per year… and then one has to look at and consider the standard of that teaching!

Again, nutrition plays a big part in the work being done by the school and all students receive a healthy and nourishing meal every day of salad, fruit, vegetables, yoghurt, lentils and bread. The Foundation has, therefore, provided funds to Educate For Life to provide the daily meals for 3 classes of children for a year - that will be about 33,000 meals over the course of the year. Again, given his love of food and cooking and the sharing of food with others, Greg would have been very happy with his Foundation contributing in this way.

Ed also explained to Karine and Chris that all families in the village currently drink either from an open well or a hand pump. There is no treated water. This allows for easy transmission of infectious diseases. Things are particularly bad after the rainy season. Very few families in the community have latrines – everyone practices open defecation - and the open wells become easily effected by the run off in the monsoons. 

In addition to the food programme, the Foundation has, therefore, agreed to fund the cost of installing a water purifier, giving the children and wider community access to clean drinking water for the first time in their lives.

A Smile and Food Paper Bag Initiative