This report outlines the scale and utilization of the financial support sent to the ICA India Adivasi Ashram Shalla in Chikhale Village by Emerging Ecology USA during the period March 2014 through August 2015. Nelson Stover, President of Emerging Ecology, and Vijay Lokhande, Chairman of The Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) India, prepared this report for distribution to the friends of Emerging Ecology board and the US donors who support the Adivasi Ashram Shalla through the auspices of Emerging Ecology.
During the period involved, four transfers of funds were made by Emerging Ecology to ICA India. These funds were designated for use by the Chikhale School and were transferred to the school’s accounts. Receipt of the funds was confirmed by email and they were converted into Indian Rupees for use by the school. In total, $8,685.50 was sent for the school.
Emerging Ecology continues to raise money for the school through both personal visits and a donations page on its website. Unless otherwise designated, funds go toward cultural enrichment programs and costs associated with upper grade students taking their end-of-year exams.
During his visit to Greensboro in July, 2014, Vijay worked with Nelson to compile a detailed analysis of the school’s annual spending. Based on these calculations, they concluded that: a) the average annual total cost for enabling the upper grade students to take their year-end exams amounted to $2,648.00, b) the school spends $6,475.00 on outings and cultural events per year and c) the average annual cost per student for food, staff, materials and all other expenses (excluding major capital costs) comes to $424.00.
The money sent in July 2014 was used to cover a portion of the year-end exam costs for the 2013-’14 school year.
The money transmitted in October 2014 was used for improving the physical condition of the classrooms. Much of this money was contributed by an American couple who visited Chikhale while they were on a family trip through India. The money was used to purchase 40 new desk/bench modules at a cost of approximately $50/desk. This allowed all of the students in the 4th standard and above to have adequate classroom seating. The photo at the right was taken in January 2015 after the project had been completed.
The funds sent in February 2015 were used to cover the travel and related costs for the 2015 year-end examinations.
During his visit to Greensboro in July 2015, Vijay had specific conversations with several people who had previously contributed to the school. He talked to them regarding upgrading the kitchen at the school. Due to rising gas costs, the school was in arrears on paying for the gas cylinders used for cooking. Recently, a new high-efficiency steam boiler had been donated to the school along with special cooking vats (see photos). However, additional funds were required to install the devices and provide the fittings and insulation for the equipment. Vijay estimated the total cost for the back-due gas and up-coming boiler installation would total $3,000. Three families made special contributions for this purpose. The balance of the money sent in July, 2015 was used for exam expenses and cultural programs for the 2014-’15 school year.
These funds, along with all of the other financial support and encouragement from international visitors and local businesses and service groups, augmented the quality work of the faculty to produce excellent test results at the end of the school year. All 82 students that completed the 12th grade passed their state exams. Among the 9 girls and 38 boys in the Arts Section, three had marks over 63%. Likewise, in the Science Section, 6 girls and 29 boys passed the final exam; three had marks over 63%. Seventy students (31 girls and 39 boys) took the 10th grade exam and 69 passed. Three girls had the highest marks, with averages above 78%. The pride of the students was evident during their parade through Chikhale Village on Republic Day (see top photo).
The school held its 25th Anniversary celebration in January 2015. A former State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for the Government of India served as the chief guest for the event. After speechs and awards, the students presented a three-hour long cultural program featuring traditional and contemporary dances by students from all the grade levels. By the end of the evening, the school courtyard was filled with students, their families and many of the Chikhale villagers. All of the more than 3,000 people had come to enjoy the festivities.
For additional information about the Adivasi Ashram Shalla in Chikhale contact Nelson Stover, Emerging Ecology USA.
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, November 2015.