The children of all the families the project works with are poor and therefore, rather than attend one of the many private schools, go to state schools which are overcrowded and often inadequate in the teaching they offer. As a result children, already marginalised by their social status, may not learn even the rudiments of reading and writing; this in a country where it is essential to be able to speak, read and write two Indian languages and English to be allowed to enter tertiary education.
The Banyan Tree project provides tuition groups for Primary and Secondary children. At present we have 14 groups, with 15 teachers, and over 300 children. The Banyan Tree employs a teacher for each group to provide tuition before or after school on each school day to support and amplify school work.
Books, pens, pencils and other necessities are provided and occasional help with school uniform. Our teachers keep in contact with the pupils' schools and Philip is very keen on involving parents' groups. Tuition is free for all. Additionally there is a vacation programme during the long summer holiday.
Education is the key to assisting children to complete secondary schooling and enter tertiary education and hopefully to enable them to break the cycle of illiteracy and deprivation.