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The Amarpurkashi Project in India


The project encourages girls to learn and there are now over 40% girls in the secondary school.

the project provides secondary education for 800 students and encourages girls to attend

The degree college is situated in the village, making it possible for rural students to study to degree and post-graduate level.

the degree college is accessible to rural students and has over 1300 students on roll

There is a health centre in the village with a qualified and experienced doctor.

the project supports a number of health initiatives

In July 1970, Mukat Singh returned to his native village determined to do something to help his fellow villagers. He focused on all-round, integrated rural development and slowly but steadily introduced a wide range of initiatives that over the years have transformed the village of Amarpurkashi and many other villages in the area.

The project works under the auspices of a registered body, The Society for Agro Industrial Education in India. It welcomed its very first volunteer from abroad in 1971. He happened to arrive at the same time as the project received funds to buy a small tractor but no one in the village knew how to drive it. He taught several villagers how to drive and maintain it.

Soon after he left to begin his university degree, three more volunteers from Britain arrived. One continued working with the tractor, one worked in the children’s centre and the third, a qualified teacher, taught English in the newly opened secondary school.

Since then, over 800 people of all ages and nationalities have volunteered at Amarpurkashi. They welcome the chance to meet ordinary Indians and to learn a little about rural life. Many stay in touch, come back again or raise funds for a specific programme.

CURRENT PROGRAMMES

A Primary School with over 200 students. A volunteer from September 1994 organised a concert in London that raised enough money to build proper classrooms for this school.

An inter-college with over 800 students, offering all levels of secondary education up to and including A levels. One successful innovation is the annual Science Fair which attracts villagers, students and visitors from the whole district. A volunteer from November 2006 raised money to sponsor one of these fairs.

The Gramodaya Degree College with over 2,000 students, nearly 50% of whom are girls. As well as a B.A. in ten subjects, the college now offers masters in four subjects, a bachelor of education and a post-graduate diploma. Volunteers often help these students by running informal classes in conversational English.

Free eye camps and health camps, staffed by a fully qualified and experienced doctor. The project also organises regular health camps and, once a year, a free eye camp for villagers. These camps rely on funds from abroad and past volunteers have frequently sponsored them and even returned to the project to see how the camps work. In February 2013, five volunteers came from the UK, all of them qualified optometrists. They tested the eyesight of all the school students and raised money to provide them with glasses and any necessary treatment.

Other health initiatives include an HIV/Aids Awareness programme, action research projects and campaigns against female foeticide, pollution and corruption.

Sadbhavna – Eco-harmony project is the latest venture, experimenting with ways to create sustainable livelihoods for small farmers.

PROGRESS REPORTS

For full details, see the progress report for 2012-13.

For previous reports and general background see the history of the project.