The students from Aarti performed very well in entrance examinations and were admitted in some of the best schools in the district. While they adjusted well in the mainstream schools, there was a resistance from a few parents who did not want their children to mingle with Aarti children. Aarti School was established in 2007 in response to the need for a community based on equality and equal opportunity, valuing principles of kindness, compassion and empathy.
The focus at Aarti is on building an environment where children can blossom, and thrive academically and socially, irrespective of their backgrounds. While receiving regular education, children are encouraged to dream big and reimagine their possibilities. Our results speak for themselves. In the past 11 years, our students have all passed Grade 10, with an average of 8.8 GPA.
Today, there are over 700 girls and boys, mostly from impoverished backgrounds attending Aarti School between kindergarten and tenth grade. Education is free at Aarti from 2022, and the students are expected to only pay for their transport. The Bridge Program provides an additional support for struggling students and those with little or no exposure to English. Various activities, competitions and open fora are conducted in the school at the district level. These programs have been used as a platform for increasing the awareness of girl child issues amongst both boys and girls. Mainly to empower women and educate girls.
Saritha - Finding her dream
Saritha was not sent to school till she was 8. Her mother, a single parent, earns a living by selling flowers next to the local temple, and Saritha would accompany her. Our teachers' interaction with Sarita and her mother resulted in Saritha joining school. She studied in the bridge school and quickly progressed to grade 3. She set her sights on becoming a medical professional and went on to study at Aarti School till Grade 10, graduating with a GPA of 9.8, one of the highest in the district. She has been admitted for grade 11 and 12 in one of the best schools, with full academic scholarship .
Yousuf- Becoming a Feminist
11 year old Yousuf has been at Aarti for two years and is a budding public speaker. He won an elocution competition on equality, conducted by Aarti on the eve of the Independence Day. When called on stage to receive the prize, he described himself as a feminist and sought equality across genders. He donated the cash prize to Aarti and promised to go the “Aarti way”.
Children come from difficult backgrounds, often without formal education even till the age of 12, and this has proved to be a challenge for Bridge schooling. Learning alphabets in the class was a difficult task for many of the students whom we often found responding to different stimuli and excelling at non-academic pursuits. This led us to experiment and come up with the idea of a Creative School for identifying and developing the various types of intelligences in children, fostering a love for learning and and engaging them productively. The teachers provide these stimuli at the Creative School through dramatics, yoga, painting, dancing, singing and terracotta jewellery making, in addition to regular activities like sports and games. Creativity and a desire to learn has quickened the pace of the children's learning journeys and joining the mainstream education.The children with the learning gaps are initially admitted into Creative school and when the learning gap disappears, the children are moved to the mainstream school.
"Education in the true sense is helping the individual to be mature and free, to flower greatly in love and goodness. That is what we should be interested in and not shaping the child according to some idealistic pattern". - Jiddu Krishnamurti