The Swami Balendu e.V. Kindergarten and the Swami Balendu e.V. Primary School are right next to Swami Balendu’s Ashram Shree Bindu Sewa Sansthan in Vrindavan, North India. The Kindergarten was opened in 2007 and only one year later the building was fully renovated and extended so that in 2008 children could begin visiting the Primary School and learn in bright rooms in a cheerful atmosphere.
The educational institutions of the Swami Balendu e.V. have been founded to support the education of poor children. The Kindergarten and the Primary school are frequented by children whose families live below the poverty line. Due to their very small income they cannot afford to send their children to school. Many of the parents go to work in the morning and with the salary of the same day they buy food for dinner. They do not have any savings to pay school fees and mostly do not have time or the knowledge to teach their children themselves.
In the Swami Balendu e.V. Kindergarten and the Primary School there are no school fees. The institutions are run by donations and child sponsorships which make it possible that the children receive school uniforms, books, pens and daily a warm lunch. Parents can drop them in the morning before going to work and pick them up again in the afternoon, when returning back home.
Sometimes it is hard work convincing the parents to send their children to school. Read more about the reasons, about child labour and how we want to break this circle of illiteracy.
In the Swami Balendu e.V. Kindergarten the children get to know the basics of reading and writing in a playful way. They get used to being in a group and sitting for a while like they will have to when they go to school. With the help of symbols and pictures they learn colours, forms, the names of animals and more. The youngest children are four years old.
At the age of six they can go to the first class of primary school. There they have Hindi classes as well as English lessons. Older children also receive education in Sanskrit. In the higher classes they learn more about the history and the geography of India. Arts also find a place in the schedule and many children like these classes best: they paint, sing and even learn classical Indian dance. On special events like the independence day of India they can show what they have learned which is each time a wonderful performance.
One main focus of our school is that no child is physically punished in any way. Although corporal punishment and violence in schools are prohibited by law in India since 2000, there are each year cases of children who are permanently disabled or even die due to physical punishment by their teachers. We do not want any child to learn in the atmosphere of fear and violence. A child will only learn that violence is a part of life and he or she will pass it on, starting with hitting their younger siblings.
Unfortunately some teachers in India are still of the opinion that children can learn best if they are afraid of being beaten by them and they do not seem to find another way to keep respect. Our teachers however will never slap, hit or beat a child, nor pull hair or ears. We are positive that this will be a valuable contribution to the children's future as they will learn how to get respect without violence and that we all can live together, tolerate other people's opinions and solve conflicts peacefully.
As mentioned above, the Kindergarten and the primary school are run by donations and the work of Swami Balendu and his family. All children are supported by Shree Bindu Sewa Sansthan and many of them also have sponsors from all over the world. You can support this work for poor children with a general donation to charity, you can sponsor a child and ensure his or her education for only 160 Euro per year or you can sponsor food for a day at the Ashram.