Bhubaneswar: Aahwahan Foundation in Odisha, Baiganbaria has designed a government school to look like a train aimed at attracting children and increasing student count. Due to its underdevelopment, there has been no rail connectivity in the district so far. Keeping in mind the attraction of a train among the children, the foundation turned the building into a train. The school building has been painted with the colours of the train including different shades of blue and yellow.
Aahwahan in 2020 adopted a school ‘Baidhara Govt. UP School’ in Baiganbaria through the Odisha government. Founded in 1964, this school lacks a sufficient pathway to the school, poor toilets, infrastructure and due to its poor state during the rainy season, parents in the area began sending their children to schools that were further away, resulting in a high number of dropouts. Afterward, Aahwahan’s team of experts decided to go to the school and the surrounding community to investigate and understand the challenges and needs of the school and the students.
Given that in most cases the infrastructure and availability of facilities are worst in the government schools, Aahwahan Foundation launched the ‘Adopting a government and scaling up its infrastructure’ initiative, in which they would empower government schools with whatever necessities they have to enhance the quality of learning, ultimately improving the lives of many disadvantaged children.
Amidst lockdown, the foundation adopted the local government school of Odisha and began its construction, painting, and design work to maintain a reliable and sanitary learning environment for the students. With a belief that a school’s infrastructure is the base for effective teaching and learning and the main goal of effective school infrastructure is to boost staff motivation, school attendance of students and improve the academic achievements of students. Aahwahan along with its team decided to artistically design the structure of the school in the form of a train to attract more students and make learning more enjoyable for them. Aside from that, the team also decided to go door to door to raise awareness. This resulted in an increased number of admissions and a lower dropout rate, both of which will have a significant impact on the lives of the community’s inhabitants and the community as a whole.
According to the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) Report for the year 2019-20, over 6,465 Indian government schools do not have a building, 35 schools have unkempt and shabby buildings, while the buildings of 4,417 schools are under construction. Only 77.34% of government schools across the country have a functional electricity connection, 10% of schools do not have hand wash facilities, leading to unhygienic conditions for the students. A total of 29,967 schools do not have drinking water facilities within the school premises.
Commenting on this initiative, Mr. Braja Kishore Pradhan; Founder, Aahwahan Foundation said that, “We at Aahwahan havedesigned a government school in Odisha to look like a train compartment and platform aimed at attracting children and decreasing student dropout rate. Currently, the foundation has adopted over 200 government schools and has been assisting them with basic infrastructures, such as school buildings, drinking water filter, sanitation facility, and providing benches and desks, among other things.”
A lot of people from the poorer and marginalized communities that want their children to have access to a good education are forced to send their children to semi-government or private schools due to poor infrastructure and lack of basic facilities including sanitary hygiene etc. Due to this, Aahwahan realized that assisting a government school in need, where students from underprivileged society can have access to education, is significantly superior to building a new school as it will reach rather more students.