Grant Status $0 needed

Please log in to donate!
Expected Usage of Funding
Supplies, Furniture:
Labor and Salaries:
Raw Materials:


This project supports the Gonwara center and also centers in Mahe and Dengrahi which function like after-school programs for children after attending government schools. The children are not charged any fees for attending the centers. There are around 60 children (age range 3-14 years) currently enrolled in the ASV Gonwara center. Initially, Asha Philadelphia was supporting only the center in Gonwara, but it has extended support to two more centers in nearby areas: (a) one in Mahe which has 30 children of different castes and one at Denghrahi with 55 children of Mushar community.


Asha Samajik Vidyalaya was started in December 2005 by Manoj Kumar who had spent two years working with the Asha Ashram at Lalpur, Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh). In August 2004, he came back to his village in Samastipur because of illhealth. During his stay in his village (Mahe) and interactions with people of Musahar and Chamar communities (marginalized communities) in Gonwara, he realized the need to use education as a tool to spread awareness about government facilities, raise issues of child labor, exploitation, low income etc. As a starting point, he set up the informal education center in Gonwara with just 10-15 children. The children who come to the Gonwara center are the first generation school-goers from the community in Gonwara. So ASV is really the first education initiative of its kind that has been taken up in the Gonwara area. Again, it is the first initiative in the Gonwara area which has taken up the Right to Information related activities and is spreading awareness on various issues (a) the ration system (b) right to education, education related schemes for the kids (for example, mid day meal), (c) and is also helping villagers to develop job cards under the national rural employment guarantee program. It is also one of the first initiatives in which all the members belong to the communities themselves (and also belong to the backward castes themselves). And this provides an example and helps mobilize other young members in the community as well.


Unique Aspects of the Project Teachers: The project members use play and learn methods to teach the students. Children are learning to read and write in Hindi and Basic English. They are also learning how to perform mathematical operations like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and also get opportunities for creative thinking using arts and crafts. Ashok, one of the team members teaches English in the Mahi center. Children like him a lot because they were having a lot of difficulties in learning English language. In addition to the time spent in the school, these children also help in the fields, take care of the livestock, milk the cows, do other household chores and work at the brick kilns. Community Support: The villagers are extending their full cooperation to Manoj Kumar in his endeavor to improve the conditions of this community. In fact they helped him build a hut structure (made out of hay) for the school. However, in the absence of a closed structure it becomes difficult to keep the school open during heavy rains or other extreme weather conditions. During floods in the summer/monsoon of 2007, Manoj, his two other team members, a group of 10 volunteers and the villagers worked together and were able to help around 400 to 500 people suffering from diarrhea and other health problems during the floods. Summary of Project Implementation Asha Philadelphia has been funding this project since July 2006. Within the span of two years the Philadelphia chapter’s involvement has grown in following ways (Some examples): • Expansion of funding • Regular communication with the project and help and guidance with new initiatives like – the sewing center, library program, Bal melas, health camps. • Initiating discussion and expanding collaboration between ASV and other groups. For example, Philadelphia chapter took the help and guidance of the members of the organization called Local Governance (for flood related activities) to help the ASV members in their flood management work. • Discussion of teaching methods and opportunities for developing creative teaching methods • Development of a Pen Pal program. We recently (April) had an event in which Asha members and other university students made cards for the kids, wrote letter to them, made multiplication tables etc for the kids. I (project co-steward) is going to India in a few days and will take these things for the project. • We are in the process of setting up a teleconference between Asha Philly members and teachers and students at the ASV project.

Team Credentials

There are four teachers in the team: Manoj, Ashok, Sikander and Rajesh. Sudhaji, who is the Anganwadi teacher has also joined the Gonwara center. She brings the Anganwadi children (3-6years old) to the Gonwara center and teaches all the kids in that center. The average age of male teachers is around 30 years. All the teachers are from the nearby regions and belong to the backward castes. All of them have graduated from high school. The motivation for the team is to empower the marginalized communities and bring them into the mainstream of society. They want to spread the message of education; spread awareness about government facilities; raise the issue of child labor; raise consciousness about their right to information- all as part of a much needed Jan Andolan (people’s movement). The vision is to use education as a tool for initiating a social movement whereby such marginalized communities can fight for their own rights and improve their conditions.


  • Aasra Project Update

    Major Project Updates : Funds for the first half of 2009 have been disbursed. The construction of permanent rooms for the NFEs (Non-Formal Education Centers) is now complete. In the past, the NFEs ran in mud huts or under trees, which made operations difficult during the monsoon season. The project is situated in a flood prone region. The mud huts were almost always washed away by the overflowing river, and had to be rebuilt every year. A health camp is scheduled to be held soon, and the children studying in the NFEs toured the nearby city of Varanasi. Women from the village have begun training on the embroidery machines purchased for the vocational center. Two more machines will be purchased soon. A site-visit is scheduled for the month of March. Timeline of Updates : Jan 06, 2009: Funds disbursed for the period January-June 2009 Dec 23, 2008: Teleconference updates from Vallabh Pandey and Ajay Patel. Construction of rooms for NFEs and roof installation complete. Health camp to be ...