Children Hostel Project

During the visit that in the spring of the year 2004 Mr. Jojayya, director of Shantidhara, payed to Barcelona, Spain, was established an agreement of cooperation with Clara Gari, a dynamic and enthusiastic Spanish woman, very sensitive with the third world children education issues, and to be more precise, about the ones living in India. At that time the Children Hostel Project was born, aiming to host, take care and give full education to a pocket of children from remote villages belonging to the district of Visakhapatnam, in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.

This endeavour has been financially covered for the complete course 2004-2005 by Clara and her Spanish Coclea Organisation ( She herself spent 6 month in the Hostel, organizing and establishing along with Mr. Jojayya the basis on which the daily life of those 9 girls and boys are settled, making the proper adjustment to the initial programmes and providing the optimum rhythm for the full education of the hosted children.

The building in which the Hostel is allocated is a rented chalet sort of, well roomy, placed among the broad nature, with lovely landscape around, and equipped with the basic facilities of water and electricity. It is situated in the north of the populous city of Visakhapatnam or Vizag, as they use to name it. This city is capital of the district and the second biggest town of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Hostel provides the children with all the needed care, being material, social or emotional, inside an harmonic and familiar atmosphere, and hence, you can see the boys and girls always happy, smiling and radiant, enjoying a physical conditions clearly improved in comparison with the time they were admitted in the centre. Besides the caretakers, the staff is completed with a cook and night watchman.

Children come from a very poor remote villages, belonging to bosom of families who whether have broken their fragile balance due to some big problem that led them to that situation or whether they are living in a so precarious way that can't afford sending child to school, a school in general rather far away from their home. In that situation, children spend most of time playing, roaming or helping in home work or in the fields.

The project aims to be as complete as possible, not limiting only to give that mere attention to the children or a punctual or temporal instruction, but its goal is wider, covering the whole scholarship period of the child, the whole preliminary stage at least. And a great care is paid for avoiding the uprooting of the child from his family or from the environment where he was grown up, and so, when the school time is over, or in holiday or even some weekend, children are sent home, in order they can share with their families that what is targeting to be an improvement in their life.

Children are attending daily to a near private school. They leave the hostel very clean, wearing the statutory uniform that Shantidhara has supplied for them and with their hanged bags full with books, notebooks and pens. A bus pick them up just from the Hostel. Once back again in the hostel, they go on with the homework the teachers have ordered, always under the close caretaker control. The education is complemented with added activities, such playing, singing, dancing, drama etc.

By the end of April, once finished the present course 2004-2005, has been an overall satisfaction for everybody. School is over and from now is holiday time for children. The marks have been in general excellent, and school teachers feel very happy with the children's behaviour and performance, and at the same time, enthusiastic with the project's effectiveness. The experience has demonstrated to be of a great value, and that give us energy to carry on with it.

At present, Clara Gari, from Camallera, the village where she is living and working, goes on supporting the project. But now, she is not alone in that determination. She is has undertaken an association of people for helping in that, and are spreading her enthusiasm and sensitiveness, in the school of Camallera, among friends and relatives, media and other sectors in society. And the future remains open, under the shelter of a hopeful solidarity.

Academic Year 2005 - 2006

After successful completion of the school year 2004/2005 in April (summer) all the children went back to their families for holidays. The villagers clearly could see the change/difference between their children and the children in hostel project. As the children arrived back to the hostel in June 2005 to begin with their fresh academic year, the villagers from the target villages particularly the mothers also started coming with their requests to admit their children too in the hostel.

During the last Christmas, our friend Elisa Scipioni introduced Shantidhara to Prof. Noor V. Gillani, an integrated personality, a very active NASA research scientist and an university Professor in USA. He is a person with ancestral roots in India and has sympathy towards the Indian children and their pathetic conditions. Noor is supporting children in distress around the world through his PYAR Foundation; an US IRS 501(c).3 charitable foundation, sponsoring five new children.

The five new children are also from the same target villages. Though there are many deserving children in our target villages to be admitted and due to limitations, a great personal care has taken in selecting new children. The families of these children are very backward with chronic poverty, having bitter experiences in their lives and indeed deserved our attention.
Since these new children are from the same cluster of villages with similar cultures, traditions, all the children mingled themselves very easily and the work with these five new children was not so difficult for the staff as they were learning everything from the older children. Moreover nothing changed in the mode of implementation of hostel project set by Clara Gari, continuing the quality and standards of services introduced and personally implemented by Clara during her 6 month stay with these children in the hostel.
The life of the children going as in previous year, with more active participation of the parents specially mothers who visit their children regularly once in every month, sharing the works of staff in the hostel, prepared ground for playing in the vacant land in front of the hostel building. The children while regular to their schooling, playing and dance, interested in other activities too. They with the help of staff constructed a hen-house in the narrow backyard of the hostel, nested with three chicken at the initial stages, now increased its number to 27.
The school where the children studied in the previous year was sold off to some other school management and forced us to search for another school. Finally, after lot of research, the children are admitted in three different schools according to their medium of instruction. Though the children admitted in different schools, all the school buses bring back all the children to the hostel and necessary steps are being taken to improve the standard of education among these children with extra tuition classes in the evenings.

Clara will be coming again on her annual visit to Shantidhara in January 2006 with hopes of future for another ten new children. The project gaining strength year by year and the future of the children hostel project looks optimistic with the active and personal involvement of benevolent people. Along with Clara and Noor, another friend Gerry Manning, too joined his hands with Shantidhara in its endeavors, working very hard to realize the future vision of Shantidhara to bring all the facilities - a school, boarding home and play ground under one umbrella to make difference in the lives many more deserved children.
Now the children are very anxious to see their Clara Aunty again after many months, waiting to welcome and hug her warmly in January 2006.