Joanna’s Indian school doubles in size
FUNDRAISER Joanna Harma’s plans to build a school in India have doubled to accommodate more needy children.
The 26-year-old has just come back from the half-built school in
Chakarsi, around 80 miles north east of Delhi, to begin a pre-Christmas
fundraising drive in Cumbria to boost her charity’s cash pot.
Generous readers of The Cumberland News have already pledged money
through sponsoring future pupils, donations and buying gifts from
Joanna’s Indian goods shop on Abbey Street, Carlisle.
The four-roomed school was due to open in October but Joanna, from
Thursby, and husband Gaurav were struggling to recruit teachers because
they had no accommodation for them.
Foundations had already been laid for a further four rooms for the
school – to be finished at a later date – but because of the setback
the couple decided to build the whole school in one go, as well as
accommodation. Most of the £12,000 they had raised by then was gone so
they have taken out a £7,000 loan in India in the hope that support
from Cumbrians will help to pay it off.
The ambitious change of plan meant that Joanna had to return to England
alone, leaving Gaurav – who is a development economist – looking after
the site and workers.
An she brought back stacks of new goods for her shop Free Schools India, including Christmas decorations, cards and gifts.
Now the school will open in April, the start of the Indian academic
year, with four or five teachers and 100 pupils, aged six to 13.
The school will offer free education to youngsters to save them from
being forced into working in factories for as little as 20p a day. Most
schools charge high fees which many parents can’t afford.
You can sponsor a pupil for £5 a month by contacting Joanna at the shop or calling 01228 510362.
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