Primary school in the Himalaya
The school is located in the area of the village of Maheshu in the State of Himachal Pradesh in the Himalaya Mountains at an altitude of around 2600 m above sea level. From Delhi, it is around 350 km; the city of Shimla is half an hour to drive.
The region is sparsely populated and characterized by natural forests, meadows, steep inclinations and small-scale agriculture. There is also a limited amount of tourism, particularly by Delhi citizens who come here over the weekend to do hiking, meditation or rock climbing, but also by foreign tourists who proceed deeper into the Himalaya or visit the Chail Conservation Area which is only 20 km away. You will find pure and fresh mountain air in a breathtaking mountain scenery.
It is possible to travel to Maheshu by train from Delhi, whereby the last part of the way through the mountains will be done using a historical narrow gauge train, the Kalka Shimla Hill Railway
, which is a UNESCO world heritage.
The people of the area are often humble and shy. Financially they are quite poor; however as everyone is owning his own land and doing farming, they have a much higher standard of living than many other Indians and they have no reason to move into the overpopulated megacities.
In the 5 classes of the public primary school, there are only 21 children aged 4 to 10 years, because there are not more children in the area. The children come to school by foot from their farms, often having to pass steep inclinations on narrow footpaths, which however isn’t any difficulty for them as they have been growing up in this environment. Only 2 km away there is a similar small school which has a total of 30 children. Classes take place from 10 am to 6 pm Monday to Saturday.
The school only has 2 female teachers: One teacher is simultaneously teaching the classes 1 to 3; and the other one the classes 4 and 5. Additionally the school has a cook.
Volunteers and interns can teach at this school on their own; they would take over a complete class. This is only possible for female participants who would primarily teach English, as all the other subjects are being taught in Hindi language. English lessons are started as early as 4 years of age, when the kids are simultaneously learning the Roman alphabet and the Hindi writing.
Other subjects taught at the school include Mathematics, Hindi, social education and environmental education. The subject of environmental education is interesting as besides topics related to biology, geology and geography it also includes Yoga and traditional Indian knowledge.
Accommodation will be at the Chrysalid Outdoor Learning centre, a camp where team building initiatives and sports activities in nature are carried out for groups. You will live in a comfortable tent in which it is possible to stand, which has electricity, electric light, a bed, writing desk and its own brick-built bathroom with western toilet and hot water. The accommodation includes the typical Indian early morning tea (around 2 hours before breakfast), breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or coffee with snack, soup and dinner as well as 1 liter of bottled mineral water per day. From a minimum duration of stay of 1 month this accommodation incl. food will cost 15 USD per day.
Location: near Shimla/Himalaya, India
Duration: min. 1 month
Costs: none, the trouble-free package is optional
Accommodation: Not included
Meals: Not included
Included: Placement in the project; if you opt for the
trouble-free package the whole range of services which is part of the
trouble-free package is included
Not included: Travel to India, health insurance, visa