Monetary help from a school in California have helped procure amenities for a government school students in Rajasthan’s Bundi. The students of these two schools have been pen pals for around six years now.
Thirty six students of Class 6 of Olivihan Pioneer Elementary school in California are pen pals with around 40 students of the government school in Barundhan.
“The students of the California school organise a charity show in July before closure of the school in summers. They spend half of their earnings on their own school and the remaining money s sent for the government school of Barundhan,” said Shobha Kanwar, a teacher of the government school. Kanwar is behind the pen pal initiative. “Pen friends of California school have so far donated around Rs 10 lakh since they became friends with our students,” she added.
Few months ago, a large tin shade worth Rs 6 lakh, covering a 45×75-foot-area, was erected in the school which brought an instant respite to the students during the peak summer months.
“Apart from the shade, contribution from the pen friends of the California school have helped the school to purchase drinking water cooler, school furniture, slider, laptops, cement benches and decorative paintings ,” Kanwar added. It was also used for buying uniforms, bags, shoes and stationary items for the students.
It all started in 2015 when Kanwar’s brother’s friend Jacob Dickinson came to Rajasthan. Both had worked together in the past. Jacob’s father David Dickinson, who is also a schoolteacher in California, and other family members also came to Bundi and Kota during their Rajasthan visit. Kanwar invited them visit the school then. After returning to California, David suggested to her to start pen friendship among students, she said. “David and I selected students from our respective schools for making pen pals and later asked students to write letters to their friends,” she said.
As the school is shut till August 18, and David is travelling with his family, he could not reply to HT’s questions.
The Rajasthan students wrote letters to their pen friends in Hindi which were translated for their American counterparts by Anjali Israni, mother of a student in the California school. “I also translated the letters from American students for the Barundhan students,” she said.
With the help of other parents, Israni has also sponsored education of around eight poor students of Barundhan school by offering $50 to each of them.
Shobha Kanwar, too, has been sponsoring the education of some students of her school. “I do not have any children . So I have been sponsoring students from poor families since 2007 when I started working as a teacher. Last year, when I shared this with Anjali, she also decided to sponsor school education to some of the kids,” said Kanwar.
Although most of the pen pals of these two schools have not met each other, but they share strong bond through letters. One American student had visited Udaipur a couple of years ago and met around eight students and Kanwar.
“I have a pen pal in California school named Taylor with whom I shared information about village life, family, festivals, sports and other aspects of my life while Taylor wrote about their culture, school, Christmas celebrations, study tours and other activities,” said 15-year-old Priya Panchal, a student of the Barundhan school.
“I am regular pen friend with Allex D for the last three years and we exchange our views through letters,” said Siyaram, 11.
Jul 19, 2019 11:44 IST