The India Connection

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• Toothbrush Day at Muskan School •

A little bit of information about the School.
What is Muskan School ?

Muskan School is a school for poor children in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India. Although there are free schools in India, the children who attend Muskan School cannot attend those schools for several reasons: they cannot afford the uniform or the books and other school supplies;they cannot afford transportation to and from the school;their families might live in a certain area for a short period of time while one or both parents work in nearby factories which only hire them for periods when they have product orders; their families might own goats or other animals that the children must take to pasture in the morning; parents who are often refugees and/or illiterate might be also be alcoholic or otherwise lack responsibility for sending children to school.

Some important aspects of Muskan School.

Gaurav Charan, the founder of Muskan School personally seeks the families with school-age children and explains to them the benefits of school for their children.Children are allowed to do their morning chores (taking animals to pasture etc) and then attend school.Children may enter school at any time of year as parents move into the are. Children do not need to buy a uniform. All school supplies are supplied free of charge by the school. Children are fed a hearty meal daily. Children learn hygiene as well as the 3R's.Children learn about protecting themselves from sexual predators. Children learn English which will later help them greatly to find work.

Why do we want to support Muskan School?

On a trip to India in the fall of 2014, I introduced friends Malka Kaufman and Judith Stainton to Gaurav and his family. I had met the family on previous trips and was impressed by their altruistic work. At that time, I witnessed the orderly, dignified feeding of 300 beggars. This daily offering is a ritual for which Gaurav and other Jodhpur merchants contribute funds and also, in turn, participate in the actual serving of the food. A number of women are hired to prepare the chapatis and the large vats of vegetables and dahl. A tent is set up with nurse and medical staff to tend to anyone who might require medical care. All this is done free of charge.

In 2010, Gaurav and his family had a school built for the area's poor children and now they needed funds to get it going. Malka, Judith and I enquired about the amount that would be needed to run the school. $8,000. to $10,000. yearly would be more than enough to welcome up to 60 children. I told Gaurav that I could guarantee nothing but we promised that we would try to find enough friends in and around Kingston to sponsor the school. Muskan School is a registered charity in India.

With the help of generous, enthusiastic donors, mostly from Kingston and area, we have been able to support the school since December 2014.

60 supporters each contributing $14. per month, is all we need for the school to run smoothly.

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