Navsarjan Trust

Project Brief: Navsarjan was started to conscientize the community to fight the social and economic exploitation of Dalits.
Project Type: Residential School (description)
Primary Focus: children of dalits/tribals (description)

Secondary Focus: girls

Area: Rural
Supporting Chapter Contact: Boston
Status: completed - requirements ended
Project Steward: Maulik Nagri
Project Partner(s): Martin Macwan
Other Contacts:
Project Address: , Sanand Bavla Road,,Village Nani Devti,,Taluka Sanand, Ahmedabad,
GUJARAT  380 007
Tel: +917965443745, +919727750448
Stewarding Chapter: Boston
Dec 2015HartfordUSD 4965
Nov 2015BostonUSD 4572
Jun 2015BostonUSD 635
Apr 2015BostonUSD 409
Mar 2015BostonUSD 5685
Nov 2014BostonUSD 5389
Oct 2014BostonUSD 6559
May 2014HartfordUSD 4217
Feb 2014BostonUSD 6560
Nov 2013BostonUSD 6527
Mar 2013BostonUSD 1227
Feb 2013BostonUSD 7500
Oct 2012BostonUSD 7500
Jan 2012BostonUSD 13000
Jul 2011BostonUSD 1200
Jul 2011BostonUSD 9000
Aug 2010BostonUSD 5000
Jan 2010BostonUSD 6957
May 2009BostonUSD 6865
Feb 2009BostonUSD 3500
Jul 2008BostonUSD 3800
Jul 2007BostonUSD 4370

Total = $115437

Navsarjan runs 3 residential schools near Ahmedabad in Gujarat specially catering to Dalit children living in the surrounding communities. In 2012-2013, these co-educational residential schools housed 322 children from grades 5 through 8. The Dalit children face harsh social and economic discrimination in the local government schools and communities. These schools impart not only academic education in a safe supportive environment but also essential life skills such as non-discrimination and equality. Also, these schools epitomize simplicity and function. For example, for every school, Navsarjan uses modular buildings for different purposes at different times of the day. The same area is used as a mess hall in the morning, class room during the day, and dormitory at night.

Historically, the Boston/MIT chapter funded scholarships for girl students starting 2007-2008. In part due to the scholarship program, the girl enrollment increased more than 6 times in 2012-2013. Starting 2013-2014, the chapter started funding the operational expenses for residential schools, motivated by Navsarjan's fee policy change.

Also, Navsarjan received the Asha's "Quality of Education" grant to organize "Chhotte Bhim Drama Competition", a grassroots drama competition that engages children, parents and the greater community. In the 2013-2014 competition, children teams from 200 villages are expected to enact a play focusing on equality and non-discrimination.
The dropout rate of children in government schools who come from the Dalit community (often treated as a lower and outcast group) was highest in grades 5 through 8. At this tender age, the Dalit children started to recognize the caste-based discrimination and dropped out of school to avoid being mistreated by upper class students and teachers. Moreover, many parents are agricultural or migrant laborers, who migrate every season for agricultural work, taking their children with them for additional labor. To retain these children in schools, Navsarjan started 3 residential schools in Gujarat to provide primary education (5th to 8th grades), lodging and food. These schools were initially built with the help of the community funds, whereas the operational expenses are covered by student contributions, Navsarjan's own funds, and external aid agencies.

The current food cost (largest cost component) per month for each student is about 900 rupees. Due to a relatively high fee structure, parents often choose to send only their boy child and dissuade their daughters from attending school. As a result, the girl to boy ratio in these schools is extremely low.

Partnering with Navsarjan in its school initiative, the ASHA Boston/MIT chapter seeks to increase female enrollment, subsidize operational expenses, and support innovative education experiments.
Since 1989, Navsarjan seeks to improve the socio-economic status of hundreds of thousands of Dalit (untouchable) people in the Gujarat province of India. To further its mission, Navsarjan engages in diverse activities: formal and informal education, vocational training for youth, advocacy and empowerment, land rights, women rights, youth awareness, minimum wage implementation, and local governance issues. It operates in almost 3000 villages and has over 1000 volunteers.
In addition to running the Dalit Shakti Kendra, a vocational educational program, the trust runs
three schools located in three villages:
- Raika village in Dhandhuka district
- Kataria village in Limbdi district
- Sami village in Patan district