Mary Anne Browne visited PPES in the Autumn of 2018….read about her experience and reflections here

“Transforming timid, under-valued girls into confident bilingual students”

Our head teacher, KK Sharma, judging the Diwali Rangoli competition (Left), and Nursery class learning about daily brushing of their teeth (Right)

One of the first things that stuck me about working at PPES is that it was a very familiar environment for anyone who works in a school! Fewer resources and more sunshine but I think the daily challenges and many of the highs and lows faced by the senior leader and his team are very similar to what teachers experience around the world.

One of the things that has really struck me about the project is what a huge challenge it is to feed 1400 children a nutritious diet on a limited budget every day. This sight really brought it home for me (and there is more than one sitting.)

This communality of experience means the school is able to really benefit from PPES’s international links and amazing professionals around the world.  Teach for America made a noticeable impact when they came to spend time training staff, and support from Caroline Rickard with primary maths, Pie Corbett, the British council and Cambridge English with English lessons and guidance from the senior leadership of schools including Downside, William Perkins, St Swithun’s and Alton 6th form college has been a great support in developing the school and our fantastic team there. We have explored lots of new teaching techniques as well as management and organisation tools.

Pictured left, One of our alumni, home on a visit from her computer science degree course in Delhi at Diwali.

The family of this alumni, faced a problem that is an issue for several of our families. Fellow villagers were negative about a girl going to study away to Delhi and gossiped about what might be going on in the city. They came up with a very neat solution, she and a friend are being chaperoned in Delhi by one of their grandmothers. I thought this was very ingenious and hope that she is having a great opportunity to do some exploring too.

The healthcare provided to the children and their communities is a big element of PPES’s work. Screening for the children picks up things from short sight and a need for glasses to a congenital heart problem that would have been life limiting if it hadn’t been picked up and fixed with surgery. The preventative medicine outreach programme provides education to all our communities and all sorts of things such as subsidised medicines and eye camps in collaboration with other medical services.

India is a country in fast transition where support for agricultural and business initiatives have to strike a balance between established practices and respecting the way of life in the villages. It is a challenging task and the team are rising to it with gusto, developing eCommerce and new products at the Ivillage, implementing intensive farming methods, and adding value to food by processing it on the farming side. We have had marvellous support from the BCVA and from the RVC over the last year and hope to develop those relationships.

I feel so privileged to be a supporter of this organisation, it gives me such faith in the power of education and the human spirit and I am looking forward to every single minute of the rest of my stay at the project. Come and see us – it is an incredible experience.

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