» Ashray School

Stichting Benares School

Educational programme Ashray Social Centre
The Ashray Social Centre is situated in the middle of the Nagwa slums. It contains the Ashray School, along with a small health clinic.

This school is by no means luxurious. Due to lack of chairs or tables, the children sit on the floor and use their schoolbags as writing desks. However, the school offers a good education, which is what matters. Since the teachers received extra training last summer new educational methods are being implemented: more elements of play for the youngest children, and some nice English textbooks, among other improvements.

The children’s lunches consist of an egg and a piece of fruit, along with a spoonful of delicious ‘Chayunprash’-syrup, which, apparently, contains all the vitamins, minerals and ayurvedian spices to help prevent illness. According to the doctor who holds surgery hours twice a week in the clinic, the health of the people in Nagwa is markedly improving. The school meal for the children is definitely a contributing factor in this. During summer holidays, when the school is officially closed except for an alternative programme, it appears that many pupils still come, especially for the meal!

The Ashray School offers 80 children schooling up to grade 5. After that, the children must transfer to a different school to continue their education. As such, our co-operators have taken on the task of selecting students in the fifth grade whom they consider to be eligible for further financial aid by our foundation.

The evening classes in the Ashray Social Centre provide homework assistance and extra tuition. In the afternoon there are sewing classes and three times a week classes in kathak dance and tabla. On Saturday one of the women teachers teaches yoga, the 4th and 5th grades have extra English classes, and there are handicrafts or sports activities. The children sport at the new Nagwa ghat and once a month the entire school  visits the park. Also chess lessons have started.

Benares Schoolfund Foundation covers all the educational costs of the Ashray Social Centre.