Aarti English Medium School
Aarti places immense emphasis on girls’ education, believing that education is the only way to break the stigmas surrounding girl children and give women rights and opportunities. Over time, it has expanded to include students of all backgrounds in need of similar opportunities.
600 students enrolled in Aarti School programs
400 in Aarti English Medium School
200 enrolled in the Creative School
300 Aarti alum pursuing higher education
25 former Aarti students employed
RUPEES IN SCHOLARSHIPS FUNDS
In the early years, Aarti girls were sent to school all over the Kadapa district. Gender discrimination still existed in their classrooms. While most teachers were well-intentioned, some were jaded against the orphaned girls or were simply unable to help them.
Many of the girls arrived at Aarti home with little or no formal education, and came from difficult and traumatic backgrounds. Teachers were quick to label the Aarti home children as “dull,” and many of the girls desperately needed additional support and compassion to reach the expected benchmarks in Kadapa’s schools. Thus, with time, it became increasingly clear that they would greatly benefit from an institution of their own.
The first program to be developed was Aarti’s Bridge School within Aarti Home, a program designed to “bridge the gap” between students’ current education level and their age. These classes were small and aided the students’ academic development. This program still exists and has been expanded in Aarti School.
Four Stanford students and three teachers were the small beginnings of Aarti school, a school that focused on both the emotional needs of the Aarti girls in addition to their academic challenges. At the beginning, this homeschool on the second floor of Aarti Home offered a full time educational program only for first through sixth grade students. Over time, the number of teachers expanded and more girls began to attend.
We realized that our girls represented one at risk population in Kadapa’s schools, but there was another population that was also struggling with many of the same issues: Kadapa’s impoverished and needy children were also lacking the attention and resources they needed to succeed in the classroom.
In 2008, Aarti English Medium High School became an institution in its own right. Today, there are over 375 students, both male and female, who attend Aarti School between kindergarten and tenth grade. Most of them come from impoverished backgrounds and pay limited or no school fees. The bridge program still exists within the school as an additional support resource for struggling students or students with little or no exposure to English. The school is also used as a center to conduct various activities, such as competitions and open forums for district. These various programs have been used as platform to increase awareness of girls child issues for both boys and girls. In one of these programs, an 11-year-old boy who won a cash prize donated the money back to Aarti and promised to go the “Aarti way”.
Additionally, the school has a large donated library, and a computer lab that is now being used to teach math through online Khan academy programs and to facilitate the development of computer skills in older students. For more details on the school, visit the school site (linked at the top of this page).