Two UK trustees visited Bright Sparks School this February after a long break. We found the school thriving with everyone working hard towards end-of-year tests and exams. I was returning for a 3-week stay and Liz Hill came on a short introductory visit. It was her first time in India.
Some obvious changes? The school is slightly larger now there is an obligatory kindergarten. More students come on bicycles and by auto-rickshaw than previously. The avocado tree planted on my first visit in 2016 has grown tall. And the garden, reclaimed from wasteland on my second visit and tended by the kids, is flourishing with aubergines ripening and teak trees giving shade.
Parents are keener than ever to support their children’s education. I spent some time interviewing Y5 students, and helping select those who can go on to an NGO school to be taught in the medium of English. This should help their life chances considerably. In order to better track our ex-students’ progress and give them the academic and vocational support they need, we are working to appoint a ‘Co-ordinator’.
This development is being lead by Bright Sparks’ India trustees, who became a formal body last year and are fast becoming active in their new roles. Meeting and getting to know them has been one of the highlights of our trip. Liz was also able to connect with local Rotarians whose network can provide extra support to the school. What’s more, in just a very short time, Liz learnt to squeeze into a packed auto-rickshaw, and down her glass of lassi like a local. A lot of learning has been going on…