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India is the second most populated country on earth. India has the highest rate of illiteracy in the world. Even though the literacy rate has steadily increased over the past decades, there are still about 300 million who cannot read. These figuresaccount for around 26% of the population and around 18% among the young.
Alice Project was created in 1994 by the Italian teachers Valentino Giacomin and Luigina De Biasi, with the idea of giving primary education to children belonging to the poorest layers of Indian society and especially ethnic minorities like the chakmas.
At the moment it consists of three schools that are giving education to about 800 children from 5 to 15 years old in Sarnath (Uttar Pradesh), Bodhgaya (Bihar) and Bodisatta Deban (Arunachal Pradesh).
Alice Project is a research project for the education of children and teachers. It is based on the integration of our inner and outer worlds. The project aims at enabling the transcendence of borders we artificially create and the awakening and nurturing of the understanding of self. Alice Project is based on the concept of unity of the Body, the Mind and the External world.
Children are encouraged to know and understand their own traditions and through these traditions the universal truths are conveyed. They are invited to coherently integrate the values of their traditional culture into practical action in their daily life, sharing their wisdom with people of their villages. In this way, Alice wants to induce two changes: in the internal environment (individual psyche) and the external environment (society, Mother Earth).
The Alice School project in Arunachal Pradesh
Friends of Humanity started working with Alice Project in 2010 by providing 10.000 CHF. Since 2011, FOH has been helping the Arunachal Pradesh primary school.
Arunachal Pradesh is a region with a low literacy rate, difficult to access. The school is located in Boddishata, a remote village. (The nearest town is at 25km) where many chakmas people live. It has already welcomed 125 children! Among those students, 20 girls live in the school’s hostel, established in 2010 in order to enable children who live far away to attend the Alice school. They also receive food, lodging and health care.
First phase: In 2011 and 2012, FOH supports 125 children for 20 months. The unique education system provided by the school allows many children to access to higher education. A sewing course for girls will be launched, allowing students to get an additional income for their family and for the community. At last, the project also plans to set up running water for the school that the whole village will benefit from. The project is very integrated to the community and has been approved by the local authorities.
Second phase: In 2012 and 2013, FOH supports the running costs of the girls boarding school (including food, school material, health care) during 3 years.
This project will help children, especially girls, to get an education, the essential first step to improving their standard of living. Furthermore, the project has an impact not only on the children, but also in the whole village. Since the school has become the heart of the village, the objective is the use the school as a catalyst for the development of the village.