Education for Dalit Children (the “Untouchables”)
SONNE-International has been active in Bihar State, India, since 2012.
Bihar, whose area roughly corresponds to that of Austria, is home to 104 million people and therefore the most densely populated and also the poorest state in India. While in the capital Patna people are comparatively well off, 90% of the rural population live on agriculture (as small-scale farmers and day labourers). The vast majority of these people have to eke out a scanty living on considerably less than one Euro per day! In rural areas about 55% of the people are illiterate. Public and private schools do exist, but in many cases the parents are so poor that they are unable to pay the school fees and to buy school uniforms and learning materials for their children. Without education, these children are usually condemned to a life in misery and squalor.
We operate schools in order to overcome poverty and discrimination
Since 2012 SONNE-International has been operating three schools near the famous Buddhist temple complex of Bodhgaya together with our Indian partner organisation Buddha Educational Foundation Society. At Bakrour, Sujata and Basadhi we provide free access to education for approximately 300 children (between 5 and 14) who would otherwise have no possibility to go to school. Our main school (Bakrour) was renovated in 2014, at Basadhi a new school building was opened in April 2017 to replace the dilapidated shed where the children had been taught before. The children love their new school!
In the meantime, the schools have been digitized – and another school (in the neighbouring village of Kendari) is being planned.
In order to improve the children’s general state of health, we have started to install a system of mobile medical care for the students of our three schools.