A good school education is an indispensable prerequisite for learning a profession. Therefore, after setting up a clinic, the next concern of the Shanthimalai Trust was school education and vocational training for young people. In India, almost one third of all people are 15 years old or younger. So there is an immense need for schools.
In 1994, the construction of a state-approved school, the Sri Ramana Maharshi Matriculation Higher Secondary School, began, which today leads to the Matura. While in the first year there were 49 children and 15 teachers, today over 1100 students are taught. From the first grade on, instruction is given in English and in the national language, Tamil, in order to give the children the best possible opportunities for their further education. From the very beginning, the children learn to live together in equality and respect, largely without the influence of caste, religion or family income.The catchment area extends over a radius of 15 km and includes children from over 30 villages. The school enjoys a very good reputation and is held in high esteem by parents and students alike.
Establishment of a primary school
In order to meet the great demand for good education, Shanthimalai established an additional elementary school in 2010 to meet the need for new enrollments in the lower grades. This has allowed for the enrollment of an additional 250 children for grades 1-5.
The construction, maintenance and expansion of the school would not be possible without the extensive sponsorship program that has grown with the school. Today, numerous donors from Switzerland, Germany and the USA support about 550 school children through sponsorship.
Since the school fees are very low compared to other schools in the area and the school has a very good reputation, the income of the families is checked and the parents are interviewed. The aim is to make sure whether they really enroll their children in the school out of interest in education, or just to enjoy financial benefits. Support is intended primarily for children from poor and poorest backgrounds who, without help, would have no opportunity whatsoever to pursue an educational path with a future.
The year 2000 saw the first school leavers. In order to support them not only until the end of their schooling, but also to provide them with vocational training and thus bring them up to gainful employment, some students were admitted to the advanced Shanthimalai Skill Development Program. The number of school leavers has leveled off at around 120 students per year.
We are particularly proud of the fact that there are now several students who have remained loyal to us after successfully completing their education and are now teaching at the Sri Ramana Maharshi Matriculation Higher Secondary School. In this way, the development aid provided locally by the Shanthimalai Trust becomes an example of fruitful cooperation, which can grow independently by helping people to help themselves.
Our philosophy of "helping people to help themselves" has proven itself for almost 30 years.