india: day 13: NGO school, mumbai

india is a beautiful country. rich culture. beautiful people (inside AND out). diverse landscapes. amazing food. but it also has many problems. it all boils down to infrastructure. the system is too convoluted and circuitous for funding to reach the places that need it the most.

these pictures are focused on an NGO (non-government organization) school that is located in dharavi (asia’s largest slum). NGO schools are privately funded (in this school’s case, by a lawyer/philanthropist named G.H. Khan) and are not allowed to ask for government assistance in any way. BUT they still have to meet certain standards that are set by the government. it is completely unfair, especially considering the fact that the NGO schools have to pick up the government’s slack when the kids don’t know their ABCs at 12 years old.

these kids are amazing. they have every obstacle thrown at them everyday. they live in the slums. as a result, even the most simple things become extremely difficult. they don’t have proper toilets. no running water. well lines can be massive. improper roads. sleep can be impossible in the slums. they frequently get sick. despite all of this, they are dedicated and driven to learn.

i plan to go into more detail after more research and upon returning to america. this is a problem that needs to be addressed. these children are smart and beautiful, but above all they are driven to learn. all they need is chance.

schools survive on the bare minimum.

the programs are very regimented.

writing exercises.

girls and boys are divided and wear uniforms that are provided by the schools.

materials are also provided.

standards (aka “grades”) are contingent on skill level and not age. in some cases very young students are bumped up or older students are bumped down based on their educational background.

over the course of about 5 hours the children study 8 subjects for 30 minutes each with a recess in the middle.

all of the students are very eager to learn.

the teachers are extremely dedicated and well-qualified. they are devoted to these children.

the campus is shared with a government school. it is a total of 4 classrooms and an office.

this is the entire NGO campus.

the children line up and say the national anthem everyday.

school is dismissed!

the children are very well-behaved. when i walked into the room they all stand and say “good morning, sir. thank you, sir!”

school companions.

every seat is filled.

the programs are taught in english and urdu. the junior college is only taught in english.

brilliant kids.

sharing notes.

another dedicated teacher.

the man, himself. G.H. Khan is a good man. he loves these children.

up the street there were riots the night before. the neighborhood was terrorized by muslims against the ganesh chaturthi festival. another obstacle the children have to face.

~ by jacobbmurphy on September 15, 2010.

11 Responses to “india: day 13: NGO school, mumbai”

  1. Mr. Khan is an amazingly generous man. He’s saving these kids through knowledge and hopefully if they become half the man he is, India’s future looks bright.

    Are riots between Muslims and Hindu’s frequent in your investigations?

  2. Hi Jacob
    Beautiful pictures as usual… but I wonder if these speak the complete truth, particularly about the quality of teachers and the well-behaved students. Perhaps it is slightly better because it is an NGO, but is most government schools, the teachers are barely sufficient and definitely not the best (generally speaking). And the students… it is drilled into us from the first day at school to stand up and wish the teacher when he/she enters the class.
    I only wish it is an indicator of how well behaved they are 🙂

  3. What beautiful children and what a generous man. Thank you for this glimpse into this wonderful NGO.

  4. in answer to mr wade’s post: ‘riots’ is the wrong word. it must have been an instance of violence by an individual or something like that. no one protests any festivals here. THAT i can promise and swear by.

    • arkadev, it was not a protest. the riot (consisting of many people) was the result of hindu/muslim tensions bubbling below the surface. unfortunately, it reached its boiling point and people got violent. many were hurt.

  5. Jake, as an educator, these pictures are an eye-opener. Little do we know ‘how good we have it’ in the U.S. Things aren’t perfect here either, but our government tries to cover ALL childrens’ education, and not rely on NGO’s and a generous wealthy few who cover the rest. Keep up the pix, they are mighty fine.

  6. Generally the riots are driven here by a small group of individuals motivated by any religious leader or politicians. These things usually occur during big festivals. But general public across both religions are quite harmonious.

  7. […] However, I’m irritated by Jacob’s analysis of what he’s encountering. On his 13th day in country, in simplistic, Tom Friedman fashion, Jacob pronounces, “India . . . has many problems. It all boils down to infrastructure. The system is too convoluted and circuitous for funding to reach the places that need it most.” (india: day 13: NGO school, mumbai) […]

  8. I think the problems is much bigger than you have described. From the pictures it apparent that these Children are Muslims. Muslims in India have been slowly squeezed into retreat for centuries and slums like these where majority are Muslims, the government will provide no support what so ever – yet they will demand for criteria to be met.

    Don’t get me wrong there are also other casts in India who have similar fate, but Muslims because of their religion are normally targeted and so they remain in slums – this is an ongoing battle but one thing that can’t be controlled and that is spirituality and moral will.

  9. hi i would like to work for your ngo for 24 hours and be a part of your orgainisation if you think is it possible

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