» Individual sponsor programme

Stichting Benares School

Thanks to school sponsors in Holland about 50 carefully selected, individual students have been admitted in the individual sponsor programme of the Benares Schoolfund Foundation. The sponsors pay 275 euros per year for all the schooling costs involved.

Only some of the students in the programme, the bright ones, attend English-medium schools, most of the students however attend Hindi-medium schools, spread over the city of Varanasi.

Highly talented students only, who are able to complete English-medium school up to grade 12 without any problem, are sent to English-medium schools; it better fits their capacities and offers the best opportunities for their future.

Less talented, but extremely motivated students are sent to Hindi-medium schools.
It becomes more and more clear that Hindi-medium schools form a better match with the background of our children, as most parents are illiterate and speak only Hindi. The school results of less talented students prove to be considerably better when they are sent to Hindi-medium schools.

So all selected children receive the higher education that fits them.

The children and their background
Most of our students come from Nagwa, the neighbourhood of rickshawmen and outcastes. The average income is less than Euro 2 a day. The houses are small – often consisting of just one room – and there are no sanitary facilities. People wash in the street at the pump; they relieve themselves in the surrounding fields and on the riverbank. The bad hygienic circumstances cause many diseases; due to lack of money, meals (often just one daily meal) are imbalanced. Almost all of the children suffer from vitamin and protein shortages, which does not make concentrating on school work any easier.

In co-operation with the Ashray Social Centre all the pupils’ families are allotted a fixed amount of lentils for every family member a month. In this way the children regularly have a solid meal and the whole family share in the benefit.

Twice a year, moreover, the children are given a medical check-up, are wormed and get extra doses of vitamine A (eye diseases are widespread in India).

Selection
The individually sponsored students are selected carefully. Criteria for the selection of new pupils are the family income (must be below Poverty Line), the size of the family and the motivation of the child and its parents. When parents do not support the idea of their children going to school – often for a number of years – there is a big risk of children leaving school prematurely, sometimes to go and find a job, sometimes – for girls – to get married. There is a growing realisation of the importance of schooling for girls. New sponsors often ask us specifically to select a girl. This is taken into account in the selection procedure.

Moreover: for selection into the individual sponsor programme a more than average intelligence is required for English-medium highschool, and a more than average motivation  for Hindi-medium highschool.

The arrangements guarantee the best possible selection of new pupils. BSF’s starting point is to support those children who would otherwise miss out on a good education.

Two local co-operators
In this programme the Benares Schoolfund Foundation co-operates with accountant Surendra Srivastava and computerteacher  Manish Bhatia. Surendra takes care of the administration and financial affairs;  Manish  manages the actual school business. They take care of the application of new children, the right book packets and school uniforms and the monthly payment of school fees. They, moreover, monitor the childrens’ development and progress, take action if need be, and regularly report to the foundation in the Netherlands. In consultation with our foundation they select new students.

The employees receive a modest fee for all their work on behalf of our foundation.