Difficult Decisions: when is someone ‘not poor enough’ for our School? – 18 May 15

School

Last week I told you about the difficulties we have faced with our school due to corruption. I explained how education has become a complete business branch in India. Finally, I wrote a short summary of the concept of our school and for whom we are doing what we are doing: for the poor children of our area and their families. I had already announced that I would spill all my ideas and thoughts for the future and I believe it will take up the whole week! Today I will start with one of our basic issues: who is ‘poor enough’ for our school and who is too well off?

Whenever we have new admissions at our school, we personally go to each child’s home and see where they are living. That serves several purposes – for one, we get to know each child and their circumstances which brings us closer to our students. And then we of course also get to know whether they are really in need of a place at our school.

It is really not an easy task and we always see big differences in between the families whose children are at our school. There are some who have their own home, inherited from ancestors or bought with the help of a loan. Others live in a hut-like house, only on three sides walls of bricks, the roof a tin sheet which already has holes. Some have to go and search for work every day or have an illness that keeps them from working while others have a steady job, which just happens to not pay much. Some earn enough to feed a small family of four – but they have seven children! Others just have one child – but there is only one parent left who can earn money!

You see already, the differences are big and in most cases, when we come to a home, we know very soon what bad situation the family is in. There are rarely cases in which we tell the parents that we would not take their children. But they exist.

If we usually have children whose fathers earn about 4000 rupees per month and we come to a home where the father earns 10000 rupees while there is only one small child left to feed, raise and educate, we would tell the parents to find another school. The place that his child would take up in our school could support someone who really cannot afford another school! Someone who is more in need.

At the same time we know that this father is not rich either! We know that he will find enough schools but that it will be difficult for him to find a school of good quality that he can afford. It will be impossible to find one in our school’s level of education! What should we do however – we have our limitations! There is this vision to help the poor and as many of them as possible but there is a point where we have to say no, too.

I don’t actually want this situation anymore. The need of having to decide who is poor enough and who has too much money to come to our school. For now, we have to do it this way – but in future, there is an idea to do it differently – and more about that you will read in the next days.

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