Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Nowin Nothin

We went to a Rotary club meeting Saturday morning and met a woman who has a little literacy project here. She started her project with 14 friends 5 years ago. They now have 80 students.

We have made two trips to the school to get a feel for it and have found some amazing things:

  • they get no government support because they will not join the local communist party that controls the education system here.

  • They charge the students 100 rupees (a buck and a half) for the 3 classes a day they perform. 25% of the students cannot afford this, so they are getting scholarships.

  • They teach by candelight a few days a week due to load shedding (see next post).

  • None of the staff get salaries.

  • The parents of the staff scold them because they do not get salaries.

  • They make their own basic books to save money.

  • No NGO's are helping them

When we were getting ready to leave last night, one of the students was crying in the hallway. She did not want to quit studying, but she did not have 100 rupees for her tuition. Of course, we wanted to just kick in the money, but the last thing we want to do is be known for giving money because everyone will start looking to us for it. The school is giving her a scholarship now.

We have become so distrustful of people here and are not willing to help in any significant way until we feel very comfortable that this is not just another scam. We are going to make a few more trips and then we will consider helping.

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