There are 110 students studying in the Government School of Dhamane, a village 60 km from Pune. “Most of the working days we did not have electricity, there was no running water and if it rains, we sent the children back home because the roofs leaked and we were afraid it would fall. The school was totally nonfunctional,” says Amar Kedari, a teacher in the school.
RC Pune Sports City, RID 3131, renovated this school recently, in association with clubs from RID 1100, UK, RC Pune Riverside and TRF. “We want the children to have a good ambience that will inspire them to come to school and learn,” says Sandesh Savant, President of RC Pune Sports City.
The global grant project helped to repair the classrooms and the roofs, and provided a compound wall with a new entrance to the school. It brought electricity and water supply to the school. Separate toilets for boys and girls, a handwash station and a UV-filtered drinking water facility have also been installed. The Rotary Distance Education System along with a library has been set up. There is a separate room for music classes, the school ground has been leveled and music, play, and sports equipment are in place now.
Children enthusiastically practice dance and drama inside the campus. A pedagogical teacher’s training programme has been implemented for five teachers and the principal has introduced improved standards for academic performances and extra-curricular activities.
“From asking me ‘Volleyball? Woh kya hai?’ to winning competitions at State-level, the students have come a long way,” says Kedari. Recently the school stood second among 406 schools in a district-level English Language Enrichment Programme. Archana, a Class 6 student who participated in the drama event at the enrichment programme, says, “I love to dance and act and for the first time I won a prize because I could practice at school.” For Roshan, a Class 5 student, “the benches and ceiling fans are the best part of the new school. I can sit on the bench and will not sweat anymore.”
For the first time in 61 years since the school has been set up its students have excelled in the State Scholarship Examinations. Akanksha Vikas Kolekar who scored 240 marks out of 300 in the exam along with Sakshi Tanaji Barwekar (226 marks out of 300) and Vanshika Sharad Kolekar (210 marks out of 300) will each receive financial assistance of ₹1,500 annually for three years, a certificate of excellence and a bicycle. Beaming with pride Kedari says “the attendance has gone up and our ‘not-so-famous school’ is beginning to get recognition at the State-level. All this was possible because of Rotary.”
Savant says that the club will work with the school to ensure sustainability of the project.