Our Lady of Rosary School

Our Lady of Rosary is the local village school for Mandrem, lying in the far north of Goa. When we first encountered it, it was little more than a shell with hardly any books and few facilities that we in the West just take for granted – the money had run out. But it did have an amazing headmistress, Jacinta Fernandes, and it had a vision of where it wanted to be.

Over the years Helping Elsewhere has contributed enough to build an infrastructure that, together with dedicated and motivated teachers, has allowed the school to flourish. With your help we have provided sports equipment, computers and funding for an IT teacher for their computer lab, musical instruments, equipment for their science lab and, of course, books.

We have also introduced the school to Bookworm Goa who now deliver boxes of books that are rotated monthly (a sort of Indian mobile library!) to provide a rich and varying reading experience for the pupils.

The school is now recognised in the Goan educational system and all children can now stay on until Standard 10 (equivalent to the UK GCSE standard) and take their exams within the school. The school, from a standing start, is now achieving extremely good pass rates – and this exam is so important as it opens the door to any and all advancement in Indian life.

To maximise these opportunities, Helping Elsewhere now fund scholarships that allow the brightest children to stay on at school to sit their exams if their parents cannot afford for them to do so. And we contribute to their home-grown after-school study groups that meet into the exam season – we didn’t want the kids fainting from hunger so we provided snacks to keep them alert.

Working with Jacinta and her team taught us that it needn’t take a fortune to create and maintain a great school but it does need more than thin air! The ingenuity and dedication shown by the staff has multiplied the resources we contributed and totally humbled us.