Education is one of the main pillars of sustainable development as it allows future generations’ access to new ideas and resources. GRAVIS has been a strong proponent of education for the poor of the Thar Desert and has hopes of giving children a brighter and financially secure future.
However, educating the villagers of the Thar requires many innovative strategies as agricultural duties and isolation make attending school difficult for many children. Girls and other marginalized groups such as minorities or tribal communities face additional challenges as they experience many oppressive cultural norms which restrict their mobility.
Primary Schools- We believe that primary education is a basic right for all children, regardless of status or location, and we work to give every child the education they deserve. GRAVIS currently runs 49 primary schools in the Thar Desert. Till date, 98 schools with more than 7,000 students have been set up by GRAVIS and many of them are now run by village communities independently. These schools are often located in the areas of villages where no government school existed, and some provide midday meals for students. Once these schools are well established, GRAVIS hands over the administration to the local Village Development Committee or the state school system.
Outreach Programs- As part of our effort to give all children an education, we run a number of outreach programs for students and parents. Seeing that some parents believe their children’s time would be better spent helping in agriculture work or other duties, GRAVIS sends staff to villagers homes for day visits to discuss the child’s options. Staff play games with children and involve parents as an attempt to show parents the value of education for their child. Ideally, parents will choose to enroll their child in the nearest education center after the meeting.
Bicycle Scholarships- While primary school forms a strong foundation for students, secondary schools are just as vital for their futures. Unfortunately, these are few and far between and colleges are nearly non-existent in rural areas. Even if students have the desire to continue their education, the distance can be too far to travel alone for safety and logistical reasons. Through its various projects, GRAVIS donates bicycles to students who wish to attend secondary schools. This support focuses on female students who have to date been given 230 bicycles.
Girls hostel at Gagadi Center - GRAVIS has recently constructed a new girls hostel building in one of its centers where the girls will stay to receive middle and high school education. The center can accommodate up to 16 girls, who live there and participate in many activities.
Teachers Training- In order to maintain and improve the education standard in our schools, we frequently train our teachers by a variety of resource persons.