India – Nirvana School
One Cause currently operates at Nirvana School in Pondicherry, India.
Nirvana Trust was formally launched by Mrs. Vinodini Samani (Vinumasi) in 1994 after the sudden death of her husband. The couple had been tutoring children in their house for some months, and had a shared vision to ensure that all children were given the opportunity to receive a good standard of education, regardless of their financial situation. Nirvana School opened in December 1995 in Pondicherry, Tamil Nadu, India – which is around 3 hours drive from Chennai.
With the support of people all over the world, the school has expanded tremendously, and currently holds over 430 children in Nursery, Primary and a High school.
Due to the popularity of the school, and the rapid expansion, it was decided that a High School would be built to cater for the children who wanted to continue their education at the Nirvana School. In 2011, the construction of the High School completed and some of the students moved across to the new school which is located 5 minutes walking distance from the Nursery and Primary School.
The children are aged between 3 and 14. Since the inception of the project, Vinumasi has been running Nirvana School and fulfilling the vision that she shared with her late husband.
She runs the school purely on a voluntary basis, taking no salary or payment for her efforts.
The project aims to give the future generation of this vastly impoverished area a chance in life, by providing them with the opportunity of an almost free education in a privately run school.
Nirvana School is also supported by the Nirvana Trust, which aims to regenerate the local area and support the community, providing employment opportunities in the school, providing cattle feed to the local farmers and providing eye care facilities on an ongoing basis.
Nirvana school provides employment opportunities at a competitive salary for quality teachers (both Primary and Secondary) and nursery assistants. It also provides a unique opportunity for volunteers from around the world to teach at the school for short periods of time and help out with other non-volunteering activities. This has a knock on effect on the wider community, as it increases employment opportunities as well as tourism in the surrounding area, and encourages others to take responsibility for all those around them.
The voluntary and charitable nature of the school only survives through the support of the local community, as well as international support through funds raised, or time spent at the school.
Nirvana Trust (which oversees the Nirvana school) supports poor children in other schools in the area with financial sponsorship and donations of clothing and stationery. It distributes clothing to poor families in surrounding villages, refugee camps and orphanages. On a regular basis, Nirvana Trust holds an eye clinic session and finances eye operations where necessary in the local area of Pondocherry.
The Trust supplies special high protein food to nourish local cows, thereby helping their owners with better milk production. On an ongoing basis, basic foodstuffs such as rice, sugar, bread and oil are distributed by the Trust to the poorest families around the school. Nirvana Trust has an ongoing project to rebuild huts in nearby villages to provide accommodation for the poorest groups.
During the aftermath of the Tsunami in December 2004, Nirvana Trust helped by supplying household goods, food, clothes and medicine to the affected villages. Similarly, at the time of floods and earthquakes, Nirvana Trust engaged in aid activities within the areas struck by these disasters.
Water is scarce in India. Nirvana Trust has its own borehole facility which can sustain the school during the periods when there are water shortages. The water from the borehole is efficiently used for general cleaning purposes.
Recently, the Nirvana School took part in a ‘Green Hands’ initiative whereby the students visited the local botanical gardens and planted trees. It was a great day out for all the children as well!
To find out more about the current One Cause projects at Nirvana, click here.