Sansar Gyaan Pathshala School
Vision Statement Rooted in our shared knowledge, we envision a future where ancient wisdom and modern ideas work to create a self-sustaining world.
Guided by our Akhanda Yoga heritage, we provide education for children in rural India while fostering a community of social, economic and environmental wellbeing
Sansar Gyaan Pathshala
Sansar Gyaan Pathshala, which means ‘World Knowledge Lessons’ is the name of our eco-friendly school. The school was the creative idea of Yogrishi Vishvketu to provide education in a rural area of Northern India, where many children, especially girls, would not otherwise go to school. With support from the Akhanda Yoga family, Guru Ji’s dream of building the school became a reality.
The organization is funded by generous donations from ashram guests, Akhanda students and YTT graduates. At present, we have a fully operational school with grades K–8, accommodating up to 300 children. Our school is non-sectarian and multi-faith, welcoming all children with diverse backgrounds. It is located near the village of Pritamgarh, about 2 hours from Rishikesh in northern India. Our families live in rural villages within a 6 km radius. Most students walk up to 3 km each day to get to school. Our students come mainly from farming families.
We have a high enrolment of girls, encouraging empowerment of women by offering equal opportunity for education, and modelling success by hiring female teaching staff who are all local.
The children receive a high quality of education. Along with standard curriculum, we provide instruction in arts and crafts, physical education, outdoor sports and games, and of course, yoga. We teach our children about healthy lifestyles including hygiene, nutrition, physical fitness and emotional wellness. We provide specialized classes in reproductive health, and host organized health camps with doctors, dentists, and local health care specialists.
Our goal for the future is to create a sustainable community and contribute to making a positive change in the world.
Before our school was built most of the local girls did not attend any school. Many parents believed that education was wasted on girls because their ‘purpose’ was to get married and have children. Having female children was even seen as a burden, and women and girls were not highly valued.
When our school was first established parents would only register their boys. So, a rule was created in the first couple years that if a boy came to the school, he also had to bring a girl with him (a sister, cousin, friend or neighbour). Our school staff also visit the surrounding villages regularly to meet the families and share the value of educating women. Many of our staff are female, and they provide strong role models for the girls at the school. The girls look up to our teachers and their families see more potential for their children. Our principle Minakshi Sharma is also an independant and educated women, which sets a strong example for our values.
We are very proud and happy to witness the growth and success at the school and community with just the empowerment work we have already done. We no longer need to maintain the one girl for every boy rule, as parents are now happy and comfortable with sending their girls to the school. Our attendance is currently about equal boys to girls. Our girls are more attentive, achieve higher grades and are more goal oriented because they understand and appreciate their opportunity to attend school, and feel the need to prove themselves able. They are more independent and self assured, and are already changing community attitudes. Our boys are educated as well about the importance of gender equality, preventing sexual harassment issues and addressing sensitive topics such as (rape culture).
Our girls have become highly respected in the school community as leaders and mentors, and all of the girls who have graduated from Sansar Gyaan Pathshala are continuing on with their education at a nearby inter college. This collage previously did not accept girls, but because of the impact Sansar Gyaan Pathshala has had on the larger community and the quality education the girls receive there, they have been accepted.
Families are proud and grateful that their children attend the school, and there’s been a notable shift in values along with education, particularly a sense of pride and respect for themselves, the community and the world around them. This transition is noticed in monthly parent-teacher meetings and when visiting the children’s homes. Educating one child has a larger effect than just that child, it educates the whole family. Indian culture in these rural villages is all about openness and sharing. Families are closely connected and with less distractions than in the city (few electronics, children stay home in the evenings, etc.) they share and talk about everything the children learn at school, thus the education the children receive is spread within the community. Community support for the school and the children is very strong. Everyone has each other’s back, and the school provide a central point for this, bridging people together regardless of social status, religion, gender etc. In this way our goal of fostering inclusion has been quite successful.
With your help we have made tremendous progress! We need ongoing support to provide for the children; it really does take an international village to make this work. You can continue to help us by making a donation*.
Thank you for your support.