Monday, 30 January 2012


I know that the blog should be about Wroclaw. But it is also about travelling and learning about other cultures, so I would like to share with you some information about my trip to India in April 2010. I was lucky enough to get invited to visit some Indian schools and, amongst others, a school run for the tribal kids in Muvalia district of Dahod city in the state of Gujarat. It was a lifetime and life-changing experience. There is also a boarding hostel, so that these poor kids, very often orphans, can be provided education, no matter how far from the school they live. I saw these extremely poor and basic living conditions of the kids in the hostel and the studying rooms, where they didn’t even have the minimum of ‘fresh’ air, i.e. not even the smallest under-ceiling fan. But the most striking thing is that the kids do not demand anything more, they have never seen a toy in their life, yet it is enough to make them happy just smiling to them, waving hello, shaking hands and making a photo together. They prepared such amazing artistic and dance performances for us! 

They youngest girls really liked our visit:-)

Mahatma Gandhi 
Studying room

The school and the hostel are run by Christian missionaries and lots of people of good will, who do a lot of hard social and educational work for the tribal people. They continuously struggle with the lack of drinking water and food and expenses for basic things. I was crying when I saw all this and immediately wanted to help the Indian children. I am not too big a fan of soft toys, but when I realized that the kids there had never played with anything like that and they had never seen a toy in their life I immediately came up with an irrational idea of sending them some soft toys (400!). It was a silly idea or rather a cry od despair, but it shows how much I got influenced by what I had seen and felt there and how much I wanted to help them, though, ironically enough,the kids were safe, smilling and looking happy. Yet, I was immensly struck and heart-broken by the extremely basic conditions they live in, and then, after talking with the headmaster of the school and the hostel, by the continuous struggle to keep the hostel running. In 1998 they started a boarding for the tribal children who have no facilities to go the school near their homes. The tribal people of this area have been systematically exploited by the dominant caste people and the charitable trust, which established the mission, are making efforts to liberate them from their clutches. The trust’s major interest is in the upcoming of the poor and marginalized tribal people of the surrounding areas. Their prime concern and the focus is on the education of tribal children which will definitely bring changes in their life as they grow. To provide quality education today they have a residential self-financing Gujarati medium primary School (1-7 classes) with 490 boys and girls. The students of the school live in the boarding hostels. They have also successfully established a social work department called Tribal Social Welfare Society. It runs developmental and women empowerment-related projects which take place in more than 40 villages. Yet, vast majority of the area of Dahod district remains untouched.

A tribal family in Muvalia village in front of their house
A kitchen in the tribal house
Running a school for kids who live many, many kilometres away from their villages and cannot walk to that school regularly would not make sense without providing them a possibility of board and lodging. Thanks to the generosity of good people (including many Wroclawians) and charity organisations worldwide they run two hostels:  Adivasi Kumar Chatralaya (tribal boys' hostel) Adaivasi Kanniya Chatralaya (tribal girls' hostel), Muvalia.  The hostels are just not a place for sleeping but it is a large dome made up of discipline, knowledge, love and affection. Children are given ample opportunities to develop and to enhance their skills and talents through dancing, singing, rangoli making, public speaking competitions, playing various games and musical instruments. Knowledge and growth of technology is being built in them by reading daily newspapers and by conducting quiz-competitions. The children are given nutritious food in order to be healthy and to be more active in their daily tasks. Sports like football, volleyball, running, skipping and swimming keep up the sharpness and the growth of children.

The donations they received from the kind-hearted people of Wrocław in 2010-2011 have been used for the hostel kitchen provisions and for mosquito net fittings in the hostel building.

Everyday bath in the nearby river
School milk-giving buffalloes
Waiting for lentils dal
Teeth brushing
Washing up after a meal
They sleep almost on the plain floor
At present there are 370 boys and 120 girls in the residential school and they come from a very poor background, most of their parents are migrant workers and small farmers. The children are not orphans but they are poor tribal children who have no facilities to go to school near their homes. These children are from 25 villages of the tribal district of Dahod. It is quite difficult to find funds for feeding them three times a day. On average they use 120 kgs of rice, 75 kgs of wheat flour and 6 kgs of lentils dal. Besides this, they need money for vegetables, oil, masala (spices), firewood and three cooks salary, etc. 
“It is a noble task but it is a challenging one, but we do it to provide a better and dignified future life for the poor tribal children. We give importance for academic studies and also initiate them to extracurricular activities like sports, games, cultural and literacy competitions. We do conduct weekly and monthly tests to evaluate the progress of the children in the school and weak children are given special coaching classes in our hostel premises.” (from the headmaster’s letter).

Performing regional dances - Indian kids love dancing! 
What are the future needs of the residential school children at Muvalia?

1. They need support for the kitchen provisions (rice purchase) at least for six months.
 2. They need to build some more toilets in the boys' hostel building.
 3. They need to provide 60 desks and benches for the school classrooms.

If you want to help, please send me a personal message at You can make a general donation or pay for education and food of an individual child. Thank you!

P.S. On 15 January there was held the second big charity event for raising funds for the school in Muvalia. The next one - a concert - is going to take place on 26 May.
All photos by Katarzyna Szostak and Muvalia School. 

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