Thursday, April 21, 2011

A profile of the sacred heart school
under the sacred heart trust

Vision: We dedicate ourselves for holistic education and self reliance to under priviledged children of our society with love ,trust,compassdion and faith.To educate and support their mothers for sustainable livelihood.

Mission: # Holistic education for under priviledged children
#Sustainable livelihood support for mothers.

The Sacred Heart School is located in Picnic garden Tiljala area of kolkata .It is predominantly a minority community area where people are from middle -middle class and lower middle class,and most of them are economically backward.

The establishment of the school was inspired by the founders association with the work of Holy Mother Teresa and her organization Prem Daan ,which is also in the same locality.The school has also contributed to the cause of the old age homes run by the various Christian organizations in Kolkata.
In keeping with this mental frame the idea of establishing a school to impart education to the children of the economically backward sections of the society at nominal or no cost was mooted. This matured into reality by the way of Sacred Heart School, founded by Mr.Anikendra Home & Mrs. Priyasree Home, in the year 1993,in a rented premises at C.N.Roy road,Picnic Garden.The entire costs were borne by the founders and the school started with only 4 children.

At first the school had classes for children up to the age of 6(six) and the school was only a primary educational institution. The children were given a small tiffin everyday,books and writing material free of cost. gradually,as time passed, over the years,the number of pupils grew and the existing students also grew in age thereby moving in to higher classes. Also, pressure was being brought upon the management of the school to accept children who were also prepared to pay fees to avail the opportunity of English medium teaching which was scarce to find in that locality.

As a result of this, certain changes had to be made. The children who were taught and trained could not avail the next higher class in the school after Class I. Consequently, they had to either shift to another school or if they could not afford that,they simply stopped studying. In the former case the fruits of the effort made by the school were enjoyed by other schools and in the later case the efforts made by the school were rendered useless in absence of discontinuance in the studies. Hence, higher classes had to added. Also, it was decided that a part of the students who were willing to pay full fees were to be taken. The fees collected from them were to susidise partly the cost of the free students. The rest of the costs were raised by the founders and from donation.

The increase in the number of classes and the number of students brought in the problem of space constraint in the existing premises and the management of the school had to look out for more space. At that time the school was not financially equipped to buy out a space of its own. To solve this problem the school then shifted to its present premises of 19A/1 Prasanna Naskar Lane, Kolkata - 700039. This too is a rented place and in the same locality which made the change over smooth for the school as well as the students with minimum inconvenience.

In this premises the school grew and expanded up to Class X. The number of free students also grew and currently there are 56 free students and 58 concessional students including one physically challenged child and 2 children affected by Autism. A small change had to be made in respect of such students since many of them enjoyed the facilities free of cost and did not pursue later on. A token sum of Rs.10/- only per month was taken from them as a commitment fee and also an undertaking that they will pursue their studies till the Class which the school can provide them.

All these 56 children are provided with daily breakfast in the form of seasonal fruits,bread and jam and sweets or any other nutritous food as deemed fit by the management. They are also provided dress and pullovers free from the school

Over the years it was observed that these free students who were basically from the economically backward section were having problem in doing their homework particularly the small children on Kindergarten and lower classes who needed help in doing the homework. Most of the parents were illiterate and not initiated into any form of education as they were rickshaw pullers, grocery shop workers, artisans, auto mechanics, simply middlemen for odd jobs, agricultural labourers, porters, etc. There wives were also sometimes occupied mostly as maids in households,nursing ayahs, or doing odd jobs such as making paper packets,pickles, etc. Their time was spent in fending for their existence mostly.

Observing this it was thought that since the young children spent most of their time with their mothers, it may be good idea to teach the mothers to some extent. This offer was made to the mothers of such children. Some of them, particularly who were unemployed or could find time for their employment enrolled. Presently there are 31 such mothers enrolled. They were also taught basically what their children were learning so that they can help the children in their studies. Thus, this became a complete package "STEP TOGETHER- MOTHER AND CHILD" . This programme of teaching the mothers was also free for such mothers except for a token fee of Rs.10/- per month.

Most of these mothers being unemployed were also taught self employment handwork such as making pickles, artefacts, needle work, kantha stitch needle work, making jute products , pottery work, jewellery from seeds. The products made by them are also sold through the school , and the school holds an annual exhibition for the sale of such products. The major part of the proceeds of the sale is ploughed back for subsidizing their and their children's e
hem as an incentive and cost of raw materials if any.

Thus, two groups of students emerged, one those who paid in full as in a m\normal school and second the students and their mothers who belonged to the STEP TOGETHER programme.

The desire for good education insatiable, the demand for admission increased year by year and presently the school has 430 students studying upto Class X from Montessori classes. The school has to employ teachers and is presently having 20 teachers plus 5 maids to look after the children. To accommodate all the classes the school had to rent additional accommodation of 2 rooms which fortunately was available in the opposite building and introduce 3 shifts.

As a result of the above the expenses of the school increased. The salaries of teaching and non teaching, expenses on books, exercise books, uniforms , nutritious food to the free students. The market price being a factor of the expenses its increase is beyond the control of the management. But the income from the students has not increased in the same proportion. The fees of the school which were Rs.120/- per month per student on an average, have been increased to Rs.250/- per month per student in a gap of 19 years. This has increased the dependence of the school more and more on donations.

To provide an incentive for donations it was thought that donations might increase if some benefit could be passed on the donors. This was possible only if the donations could be made Income tax exempt for the donors. As per legal opinion obtained this was possible only if the school could be placed under a Trust. Accordingly, the SACRED HEART TRUST was formed in 2009 having its office in the same premises. The donations to this Trust is exempt from Income Tax deductions u/s 80G (v) (vi) of the Income Tax Act valid from 08/10/2009 to 31/03/2012. The Sacred Heart School has been placed under the said Trust. Hence, the donations to the school also now qualify for Income Tax exemptions.

Moreover,the present accomodation has become inadequate for the expanding school.For lack of space this year ,despite running the school in three shifts ,admissions had to be refused .To add to these problems the landlord of one of the rented accomodation has notified for vacating the premises.All these have led the management of the trust as well that of the school to look for its own accomodation ,preferably a building of its own which will also help the school to obtain affiliation of the Board of Secondary Education of the Government of West Bengal.This will enable the students to pass out the school level examination from Montessori onwards thereby creating a belongingness of the students to the school.
The management has thus looked for such an accomodation and has identified two such buildings in the same locality to minimize the difficulties of re-location as stated above.One building is under construction and the other one is already constructed .For purchase one of these building a sum of Rs50 lakhs [Rs 50,00,000] is estimated.from the above profile it is evident that school does not have the surplus funds to finance such a project and hence has to approach for donations.Efforts to raise this amout has already been started from parents,friends and relatives and help towards this in the form of donation will be of immense help for the school to survive as now it has become a question of survival of the school with its students ,teachers and its Step Together children.

cheque to be drawn in the favour of

sacred heart trust
sacred heart school

our address

sacred heart school
19A/1 prasanna naskar lane
picnic garden
kolkata 700039

for furthur information mail to

'I have put duality away,I have seen that the two worlds are one......One I seek,One I know,One I see,One I call'

'I have put duality away,I have seen that the two worlds are one......One I seek,One I know,One I see,One I call'