Scholarships for the Needy

I have previously written about the Shanbhag School, an academic beacon in Kumta and surrounding villages.

The Shanbhag High School, managed by the Konkan Education Trust does not receive any governmental aid. But it follows the state determined academic syllabus and guidelines. While we attract many students who can afford fees, our family wanted to make good education particularly accessible to the poor. Thus last year we gave 16 scholarships to very needy students to attend either the Shanbhag High School, or the affiliated primary school, Saraswati Vidya Kendra. At a new site dedicated to our Scholarship activities, (, you can browse the list of Scholarship Recipients for 2007-2008.

You can also read about my personal challenges in identifying needy girls: Where are all the needy girls?

We did not rest, last December (2007) during my travels to Kumta I visited most of the scholarship recipients in their homes. The visit served two purposes: (a) to meet the families and convince them of our commitment to support their child’s education ~ and in turn expect them to make education a priority; and (b) to ensure that these were indeed needy families, which I could determine from their living conditions.

They lived in simple 1 or 2 room homes, or with relatives, and it was emotionally overwhelming to experience the gratitude of these families. Below, I share with you some of the scholarship recipients in their home settings. Appropriately I have omitted their names.

We supported the boy in the center, flanked by his father and cousin sister. Being poor, the girl was enrolled in the local government run Kannada language school. She wanted to attend our English school, but being in 8th std (grade) it would have been academically disastrous for her to switch the language of instruction a year before the State Board Exams. This was an important reason why we started giving scholarships to students in primary school!

We supported the boy, shown here with his parents outside their home. He was in the 10th Std and in the recent State Board Exams scored greater than 90%! Ecstatic to think that we may have played a miniscule role in his academic success!

We supported the girl; this was their front room/living room/bedroom and the kids studied on the bed. Behind was a smaller kitchen/dining area.

She came from a family of traditional fisher folks.

We supported the boy. As discussed in Where are all the needy girls? the sister in 4th grade was enrolled in the Kannada language school. She wanted to be in the Shanbhag School with her brother but unaffordable. On hearing this, I asked her mother (father is no more) to enroll her in our school for the next year. When I visited Kumta last month, we got the girl enrolled with a full scholarship! Yaay!

You can see the kitchen and dining area in the back. As traditional families do, they sit on the floor to eat.

We are supporting the boy. You see one of several sisters in the background, who have all graduated from the Kannada language school. With limited professional or career options, they work as cooks and serve meals to students in a part of their house.

We are supporting one of these delightful twins, seen here drawing and finishing their home work.

During this recent visit to Kumta, I developed contacts with other schools in town and provided scholarships for their students. More on those at another time.

If you are interested in helping children get an outstanding education, see what we have started at; and particularly, How to Help!

Updates and Related Posts: Shanbhag School

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