The Eva Spring of Knowledge School in northeastern India lacks classrooms. So far, students have to leave after grade 7. The lack of affordable secondary schools pushes them into the urban centres or into family farming without graduation. The need for new classrooms is there, teachers would also be there, only the money is missing to expand the campus.
Although heavy rainfall determines local life, the school is insufficiently prepared to handle water. There is a lack of a roofed break area and a concept for drinking and service water. In our opinion, education also includes the appropriate space and freedom to unfold, discover and experience. In this way, we want to create a campus extension that meets this demand.
Our analysis has shown that an expected additional school attendance would almost triple the number of students over the next eight years. In close cooperation with the local community, we are currently working on a three-stage expansion concept with which the school can grow sustainably in long-term. With the planned expansion, we want to provide two hundred additional pupils with a school education in the next few years.
In the first phase, three classrooms will be built and the sanitary facilities will be renewed and extended. This includes a water concept for the provision of drinking water and utility water. All this takes place within the framework of an interdisciplinary summer school directly on site in India. We plan and implement the Summer School in cooperation with the Technische Universität Berlin and the North Eastern Hill University in Shillong.
In the second phase, we will only help with organisation and financing, so that the third phase of the expansion can be carried out completely independently by craftsmen and the local community. At the end of this multi-year process, the local community will be able to expand and maintain their school on its own, using materials found on the local area.
The main focus of our work is to research simple building constructions and the use of local materials in order to make the village community independent of large steel and cement suppliers. During the study trip, it was noticed that local materials and traditional building methods are often associated with poverty, so that anyone who can afford to live in a reinforced concrete house. We want to encourage the population to rethink and appreciate their own traditions and craftsmanship before they fall into oblivion. In addition to a very material demand for sustainability, workshops and user surveys have included students, teachers and the community in the design process. In this way, we want to make a contribution to social sustainability that is so often forgotten.
The project aims to fight the lack of access to education in rural areas of India by encouraging local stakeholders. For the students of the Eva Spring of Knowledge School in particular, the expansion of the campus means a significant improvement in their living conditions. They are given the opportunity to complete a school leaving certificate in their area with a small school fee. Through the renovation and restructuring of the stock, a stimulating learning atmosphere can be created for the children.
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