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Jafar Pur High School

inside a classroom of jafarpur school

a classroom in jafar pur school

jafarpur school building

the school building so far; there is room for expansion

boys doing exercises outside the school

students exercising in the school grounds

school boundary wall

the boundary wall (to keep out animals and make the school secure) was built with the help of a generous donation from the Asian Foundation for Philanthropy

The villagers' problem

Jafarpur is a village in a very rural, backward area in the block of Islamnagar in District Budaun, Uttar Pradesh. The area is almost entirely agricultural, growing wheat, rice, millet, sorghum and mustard seed. Farmers own very small plots of land so educating their children to enable them to supplement the family income is very important.

There are 15 primary schools within a 4 km radius, covering 20 villages and a total population of around 20,000 but 10 years ago there were no schools offering any further education after primary level. This meant that children had to go to the towns. The roads were very bad and the buses infrequent so most children, particularly girls, did not study beyond primary level.

The new school is set up

A number of Jafarpur villagers knew what the Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India (the partner project of VRI) had achieved at Amarpurkashi, particularly in the field of education, and were keen to initiate something similar in their area. Promises from local politicians came to nothing so the village chief and leaders from nearby villages approached Amarpurkashi.

In March 2004, the head of the village council and several other concerned villagers approached the Society for Agro-Industrial Education in India for help and advice to set up a junior high school on some land about one km from the village. The villagers had donated this land.

After visiting the area, examining the land for the school and talking to more of the villagers in open meetings, the Society expressed its willingness to help them. With the assistance of the Society, financial help from the VRI Children's Scholarship Fund, and the commitment of the villagers themselves, the junior high school was set up and accepted its first pupils in July 2004.

A successful partnership

Since then, the government has set up its own junior high school in Jafarpur itself but this school only caters for 150 pupils and, as with all government schools in rural areas, the teaching is very poor. With 15 primary schools each releasing around 35 pupils every year, there is a need for 525 junior high school places. Our school is now a recognised high school and is very well situated just outside the village of Jafarpur and near a main road on a bus route.

The Society has continued to support the school and it has now achieved financial assistance from the government in the form of scholarships for the pupils.

All the necessary classrooms have been built with funds raised by VRI and the school has been successfully upgraded from a junior high school to a high school. There are over 300 pupils, 34% of them girls.

There is still plenty of land available in the school campus and the Jafarpur villagers plan to get permission to upgrade the school still further to an inter college, which means it will be able to offer all exams, including the Indian equivalent of GCSEs and A levels.

Jafarpur is unfortunately not a suitable school for volunteers to help in as it is difficult to reach by public transport and private transport is too expensive. However, volunteers are most welcome to visit and this can be arranged by the Society. Volunteers who have visited in the past have found it very interesting to compare this school with those at Amarpurkashi. The best time to visit is a Monday when the villagers come to the little temple next to the school to give offerings to the gods.

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