This amazing project is near and dear to my heart and home. It is an unseen thread of David Alan Collection that is woven into the warp and weft of our lives.
My wife, Amita, has devoted her life over the past 4 years to creating and improving a school in Old Delhi, India. She pursued this project with the same passion and commitment that I did with DAC. We share a commitment and passion for each others current life work. Coming from a Ph.D. background in Molecular Biology, Amita applies principles of hard work, unbiased observation, and delayed gratification, to the development of the school and the children who attend and thrive there. The traditional method of rote memorization education in India has a record of continued failure in extremely poor communities, which is the majority of schools. Amita, along with the staff and administrators, is gradually making this school into a Montessori school, which gives access to a brilliant education for kids who would have otherwise been neglected and relegated to having a life of poverty similar to that of their parents. These are children would have been used and discarded, instead of being valued and productive.
The children work quietly, intent on their individual projects, learning at their own paces with no need for discipline. This is in sharp contrast to rigid system of enforcement and fear seen in most schools. The gift of this program is seeing kids loving to learn, every hour, every day, pleading to stay after class to learn more.
There are now 140 children in the school, from nursery to 5th grade. Tuition averages $90 a year per child, which includes uniforms, materials, and some medical care. This covers about one quarter of the actual cost to run the school. The balance comes from contributions from people in America. The school desperately needs supplies, scholarships and money to outfit additional space. We now have a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation, available to us under the auspices of a Congressional District Program for tax deducible donations. We created “Ignite: A Foundation for Learning” to support this school and future projects in India and Bali. Alpha Public School has Non Government Organization status in India.
Amita raises money for the school in part by teaching four-session, Indian Vegetarian cooking classes for small groups in our home and other locations. They are fun and interactive. Participants will go home from each class with a full meal under their belt, the ability to prepare exquisite dishes, insights into Indian culture, and the knowledge that they contributed to the education of these deserving children.