It has been a week now that the new school year has started again. The beginning of classes had been postponed for a week due to the heat until finally the monsoon rains started. This is how last week the children could come back to their school and found a surprise, which we kept a surprise for all of you, too: we renovated our school!
You probably know that our school is a charity school, free of charges for poor children of Vrindavan and the surroundings. We bought the building in 2006 and apart from building another two walls to increase space and of course painting the walls, we had not done a lot of changes to the building yet.
There were many things to do and in this year we took the two months of summer holidays to start the work. One issue was the moisture which one could see on the walls of the classrooms and which made the whole room humid and the paint fall off the walls. That is a very common issue here, where especially the monsoon time soaks buildings. In the case of our school, the moisture came from the side of our garden, where the school wall probably soaked the water from the bottom.
Additionally we had decided a long time ago that we wanted to have more windows in the classrooms to make them brighter. It is a concept to build with less windows to keep the sun and its heat outside in summer but we did not want to compromise with the light situation in the classrooms any longer. Our school is air-conditioned anyway, because we want to give these children the same comfort to learn that we want to have when working. So it is fine if some more sun comes in – it has to be bright enough! For that we knew that we had to break windows into the walls – this summer would be the right time for it!
And that’s how it started. After the kids had left for their well-earned summer holidays, we removed all furniture and started breaking holes into the garden wall. Not only for windows, while we were already at it, we thought we could include the back of the school a bit more with our Ashram and we broke another piece of wall which now makes the school accessible from two sides.
We dug deep at the outside of the school wall and plastered it there to isolate it better from the moisture in the garden. This was the chance to hide all kinds of cables in the wall which did not look nice on the outside of it. And we could finish the ceilings where you could until now still see the beams that support the building.
Electricians, plumbers, painters and several workers were hammering, breaking, installing, changing, plastering and finally painting the building. New windows were bought, delivered and fit, a new wash basin came, a carpenter worked on repairing broken benches and for two months there was dirt, dust and noise all over the place.
In the end however we were standing in front of a beautiful building that looks like new. The children walked into their school in amazement, quickly deciding which room they liked best – because they are all in different colours now! Now the rooms are bright, there is enough sunlight and the kids learn in a great atmosphere.
We have documented the changes and made a small video for you: