May – June 2017

As you already know, Naveen School’s summer holidays are taking place at the moment. It is still very hot in Varanasi with temperatures soaring up to 46 degrees on a daily basis. Monsoon has not set in yet, but everyone is looking forward to the release that the rains will bring.

During this long holiday time, many families usually move to their extended family
relatives in the nearby villages. However, the fathers are often staying in the city to
ensure for their family’s living. In the meantime, the mothers are taking their children
to the countryside, where they are spending their time playing in open fields with all
the other children in the village. Few children are also spending time with their grandparents and other family members. The countryside provides fresh air and allows being in a quiet,

noise free environment, which is a very welcome change to the lives of the children.

Living in the countryside exposes them naturally to the work in the fields, working with animals like cows, goats and chicken, basket and pottery making and all other small handworks. Moving from Varanasi to their villages is often the only traveling that these families are undertaking. Our schoolteachers will meet again at the end of June to prepare for the new school session. Meanwhile, all the walls of the building are being white washed and a carpenter is still finishing repairs of old benches.

As a major aim, we are planning to extend the school building by an additional room and to replace the existing temporary roof of the school building by a proper- cemented roof. It is an urgently needed requirement and we are very much hoping to get sufficient funding for it.

Let us get back to you with more school updates when the Naveen School re-opens soon again in July. Stay tuned!

Meanwhile have a nice summer!

:)  

April 2017 – May 2017

It is that time of the year again! The excitement of long holidays amongst children was very evident. There was a different excitement in the air. The gleaming faces and non-stop smiles could not tell more that the vacations were starting from 10th May 2017.

The scorching heat has started to take a toll as the temperature is reaching a sweltering 42 degrees on a daily basis. Everyone is looking forward to relax at home and beat the heat.  They are glad not to have to leave their homes during the hot times of the day for the duration of the summer holidays because the heat becomes unbearable during this time of the year.

Many children have their relatives living in the villages. They often visit the relatives during this summer break. It is a good change for the children, away from the fact paced city life, away from the city ho-hum. They love to spend time amidst nature and enjoy the vacation to the fullest!

The school reopens on 3rd July 2017 for the school children whereas the office is opening for teachers on 28th June 2017.

Wishing you great summer too! 

:)

March – April 2017

As soon as the annual exams got over, teachers got busy with corrections of exam papers written by the students and prepared the results. The result distribution took place on 31st March and the new session of the school commenced on 3rd April.

The new books and stationery brought happy smiles to the children’s faces. April is a month of transition where the newly admitted children become familiar with their class mates, teachers and the school environment whereas the old students find their place in a new class room with usually a new class teacher. There is a different vibe in the school during this time; little excitement and slight anxiousness in the air. The positivity keeps everyone motivated and start a eventful year ahead.

Teachers are slowly introducing new lessons so that the children can adjust comfortably to the new beginning. Moreover, the scorching heat in Benaras right now has made everyone drenched out and a bit low on energy, therefore the teachers try to get the attention and keep the energy level high of the children through games and other fun activities.

Outside on the school ground, some repair work is taking place – school benches are being fixed and new chairs for the teachers are also being made by our carpenter!

Since in the last year we were not able to have any outing with our staff, our teachers requested Vandana for a small treat. We love to do this for them, because it strengthens their spirit as a team and their love to be a part of our school staff, and also it is a nice recognition towards their hard work as well. So on 23rd March all of the staff went to a South Indian small, but very busy restaurant in the city to have a “Masala Dosa” and “Cold Coffee with Ice-cream”. Everyone enjoyed it a lot, because it is a real highlight in the lives of our teachers who also come from families where they cannot afford such outings. It was also a good-bye celebration for our volunteer, Leon. We are grateful for the service he gave to our school children and us by teaching English!

March 2017

The stage was set, arrangements were made and the audience gathered around for the much awaited function of the year.  The backstage was bustling with the ho-hums to fix and get together everything last minute.  Painted hands and faces, fancy dresses and the gleaming eyes of the participants made the wait even more enthralling. As few people quote it, the idea of waiting for something makes it even more exciting. So was the case on 25th February when Naveen School celebrated its Annual Celebration Day.  This function was much looked forward to as the entire school comes together and works together to put up a grand show! The enthusiasm and excitement of the teacher as well as the students is what makes the annual day a great success. The preparations for the function had begun well in advance and the immense amount of effort was put to organize, develop and construct each and every performance in great detail. Everything was thought about and planned properly.  This year’s theme revolved around environmental cleanliness and celebrating Indian culture.

The performances were very engaging and the students really enjoyed participating as well as viewing them. As soon as the performances began, the crowd cheered and appreciated all the hard work with huge rounds of applause. As the events came to an end, the teacher concluded the function and distributed “ladoos”(indian sweet) amongst the children. Nothing was more joyous than seeing an ear to ear smile on the children’s face as they happily went home enjoying the snack with a lot of learning that the function gave indirectly. 

After the Annual Celebration Day, students and teachers started preparing for the upcoming annual examinations. Revisions were in full swing and the students were actively participating in the revision sessions as it helped prepare for the exams. The exams started from 4th March and concluded on 18th March.  

There was a three days gap because of  the Indian color festival “Holi” on which people throw colors at each other, to enjoy with each other, laugh, dance and have fun.

Hope you enjoyed the glimpses from Naveen School :) :) :)

 

February 2017

In January/ February Birgit was in Naveen School. Since she wasn’t able to visit the school for a longer time period because of some health issues, it was lovely for her to see the children having grown and to meet with the old and the new teaching staff. During all the meetings, Birgit and Vandana discussed various topics.

Presently one school child is being supported by Naveen School providing her breakfast and lunch.We realised that the girl was getting weaker and she complained of dizziness and being hungry. She is doing much better now. It is not easy to get to talk to her stepmother, but the grandmother, to whom the girl is close to, was called and asked to keep an eye on the girl’s well being.

One of our challenges is still to appoint an English teacher. Over the past few years we had to compromise with getting the subject taught by someone who was not really a professional teacher for this subject. Consequently, the present classes will need to start from the basic level in this new upcoming session in April.

An English teacher costs the school about 10,000 INR (about 150 Euro) per month and we need support from friends and well-wishers to reach this position in order to appoint new teacher for English. Volunteers are welcome. If you are interested, please write to us on office@widervision.org. We prefer someone who knows India (Varanasi) or has experience with local social organisations or schools, in case the intern is a foreigner. Please spread the news. Thank you!

The rest of our benches and tables could get their new colours now in the upcoming months of April/May when the long summer holidays are starting. 15,000 INR (about 200 Eu) are still required for the paint and 18,000 INR (about 250 Eu) for labor charges. If anyone would like to contribute to this activity, you are most welcome. Kindly let us know. We very much appreciate your help! Thank you so much for your interest and participation!

On 25th February is our annual celebration day and children are right now eagerly preparing their skits and dances every morning. And as it is the beginning of spring, this is a really good time for these performances before the heat comes back again. In our next report we will share glimpses of it!

Stay tuned :)

January 2017

The school reopened on 6th of January 2017 after two week long winter vacations. The holidays had to be extended because of the weather conditions in Varanasi. However, the school timings were changed keeping the chilly weather in mind. The school’s time is now from 9.30am to 2.30pm. Since it gets foggy in the morning, it has helped students to reach on time without being bothered by the fog. As soon as the school commenced, the students and the teachers quickly adopted to the regular routine. Every year on the 14th of January, Makar Sankranti is celebrated throughout India. In Varanasi, this festival is popularly known as ‘Khichdi’. The day signifies the beginning of the summer and the harvest season. It also signifies the northward journey of Sun which is called ‘Uttarayan’. People discard old things for new ones, forget old enmities and pray to god and offer food to their ancestors with the start of the harvesting season and end of the winter months. In Varanasi, it is celebrated by flying kites. On this day, one can witness a colourful sky with all sorts of kites soaring in the sky. In school, the students decorated the kites with various things and put it up in their classrooms. It was a fun activity.

The next major event in the school was celebration of Republic Day.It honours the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on 26 January 1950 replacing the Government of India Act (1935) as the governing document of India. The entire nation comes together on this day and celebrates. The school also organised a small function where in the Indian flag was hoisted and children and staff sang along the anthem and other patriotic songs to honour the country. Oranges and sweets were distributed to the children as well as the staff. 

The students are busy preparing for the annual day which will be organised in the second week of February. The teachers are helping students to practice various skits and dance which will be performed on annual day. Also, the teachers are finishing the course and preparing students for the final exam which will commence in the month of March. Teachers have started making the exam paper well in advance and will begin revision sessions from February. 

December 2016

The month kicked off with a very cold start and temperature going down to five degrees. The cold waves made everyone shiver and it looked like the entire month is going to be like that. However, the school activities and classes continued despite the chilly weather. Students are enjoying their English sessions with Leon. His way of teaching is making the students more interactive and expressive with the english language. Teachers are following the curriculum that has been set to finish the course on time.

December brings in a lot of excitement as the students know that Santa Claus is going to visit them this year as well. So the children at school started preparing for the much awaited guest. The students made posters, santa claus miniatures, bells and stars. The class was then decorated with all these posters, miniatures and stars. The school celebrated christmas on 21st of December since the school remained closed on 25th of December. The students got very excited when they saw the santa claus coming in the classroom and giving them chocolates. The students sang jingle bells along with the santa and had great fun! The santa distributed christmas gifts to the staff as well !

We have a new member, Oshi who joined the school in December. She is a designer and a photographer currently pursuing her masters. She would be looking after the wider vision website and constantly updating it with new posts, photos and articles. 

2016 has been a great year at the school and we are looking forward for the new year and many good things to come our way! 

Wider Vision Foundation is wishing wonderful and peaceful holidays and New year to everyone!

 

November 2016

Followed by a month of festivities, November celebrated Children’s day and Kartik Purnima more popularly known as Dev Deepavali. Both the events were on the same day; 14th of November. Children’s day in India is celebrated every year on the 14th of November. The day is celebrated in memory of Chacha Nehru or Jawahar Lal Nehru’s birthday, who was an eminent leader in the history of India. Chacha Nehru as the children fondly referred to him, was fond of both children and roses. In fact he often compared the two, saying that children were like the buds in a garden. They should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they were the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow. He felt that children are the real strength of a country and the very foundation of society. He was the ‘beloved’ of all the children who gave him the endearing name of ‘Chacha Nehru’. The school organised drawing and arts and crafts day for the junior children. Essay writing sessions were carried out for older children. Since the school remained closed on the 14th of november because of Kartik Purnima, the school celebrated it on 12th of November on a saturday.

The Dev Deepavali or we may call it “the Diwali of the Gods” is the festival of Kartik Poornima celebrated in Benaras. It falls on the full moon of the Hindu month of Kartika (November - December) and takes place fifteen days after Diwali. The steps of all the ghats on the riverfront of the Ganges, from Ravidas Ghat to Rajghat, are lit with more than a million earthen diyas in honour of the Ganges, and its presiding goddess. The gods are believed to descend to Earth to bathe in the Ganges on this day.The main rituals performed by devotees consist of kartik snan which is taking a holy bath in the Ganges on this day and deepdan; offering of oil lighted lamps to Ganga in the evening. The school remained closed on this day.

Regular classes are being conducted in the school and teachers are following the curriculum which has been set in order to complete the course in the given time. Teachers are busy with preparing half yearly results which will be announced on 25th November. Leon, a new volunteer from Germany has been taking english classes. The students are very happy and involved with the way he has been conducting his classes.

October 2016

October was a month which was filled with festivities. The two major festivals of India, Dussera and Deewali were celebrated in this month. Dusshera or Vijayadashmi, as it is popularly known as, is a major Hindu festival, celebrated on the tenth day in the Ashwin month according to the Hindu calendar. The festival generally falls in the month of September or October. The festive spirit begins nine days in advance, as people revel in the spiritual divinity of Navratri, invoking the blessing of Goddess Durga. On the tenth day, Navratri culminates as Dusshera, marking the victory of good over evil and positivity over negativity. Though there are several legendary tales behind the festival and its celebration, all culminate to mark the rise of goodness over evil. The festival of Dusshera has great cultural significance. People, irrespective of their creed, culture or religion, gather to vanquish all evil and wanton things and imbibe the goodness around them, by revering for all the things and objects that contribute to their wellbeing. It is a day of victory – a day when Lord Rama beheaded Ravana, a day when Goddess Durga killed the buffalo-headed demon Mahisasura. The essence or spirit of the festival lies in its message – to get past all obstacles and emerge victorious and successful. Navratri acts as a precursor to the Dusshera celebrations. For nine days, people fast and perform religious rites so as to sanctify themselves and take a step towards purity, piousness and prosperity. On the tenth day, they burn everything evil in them, hatred, maliciousness, greed, anger and violence (symbolically represented by the burning of idols of Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhakaran) and emerge as better individuals filled with a sense of gratitude, devotion and reverence. The students, every year are told about the reason and the significance of this festival and inspire them to become better individuals. The school remained closed during the last four days of the festival.

This month began with carrying out revisions and giving worksheets to the students to prepare them for the half yearly exams. The exam began from the 15th October – 26th October. After the exams got over, the students started preparing for another major festival amongst hindus, Deewali. They made posters of Lords Ganesh and Lakshmi, the deities that are worshipped in this festival. Students also made posters of diyas and crackers with which they decorated the classrooms.

Diwali is a festival of lights. During this festival each and every corner of the house, shop and work place is lit with diyas or candles. They worship Lord Ganesha for good welfare and prosperity and Goddess Lakshmi for wealth and wisdom.This festival is celebrated in the Hindu month of Kartika which falls sometime during October or November. It is celebrated to mark the return of Lord Rama from 14 years of Exile and his victory over the Demon Ravana. Hindus regard it as a celebration of life and use the occasion to strengthen family and relationships.

The school will reopen on 3rd of November 2016, after diwali break.

September 2016

As a mark of respect and to recognise teachers’ contribution towards the society, most countries celebrate Teachers’ Day. In India, it is celebrated on September 5, the day teacher and President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Virswami was born. Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan was a Indian philosopher, statesman and a teacher. He was a teacher of philosophy in Madras Presidency College and was very popular amongst his students. It is said, when he was leaving to join as a professor in Calcutta, a flower decked carriage was pulled by his students all the way from the Mysore University to the railway station. When Radhakrishnan became the president, his students and his friends wanted him to celebrate his birthday. Known for his humble nature, he requested, “Instead of celebrating my birthday, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teachers’ Day.” Since then, his birthday has been observed as “Teacher’s Day”.

The School also celebrated his birthday. The students made cards for the teacher and wished them teachers day. They were also told about the history behind the celebration of 5th September and about the immense contribution their teachers put for them. Cake was cut to honour the celebration for this day and was distributed amongst the teachers and the kids. Tea and snacks were arranged for the teachers and staff. Gifts were given to all the teachers and staff on this occasion.

The half yearly exams will be starting from the 15th of October, next month. The course for the exam has been completed and the teachers are giving revision sessions to the students of all the classes. Revision sessions are necessary as it brushes up everything which has been taught sincethe beginning of the semester. Also, it is important as the exam paper is set on the same course.The question paper has been made by the teachers and it has gone for printing.