Behind The Scenes: Community Work – A Life Transforming Montessori School In Delhi, India.

A peek into one of the remarkable achievements that embody the humanitarian and visionary nature of the David Alan Collection proprietors, David and Amita Bardwick.
Creating a rare educational opportunity.

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Amita with two of the students in a Cultural Dance program.

In 2003 Amita established Ignite  a non-profit foundation, and she founded the Alpha Montessori School in Mandawali, an impoverished community in East Delhi, India. It is an inspiring story. For in-depth information, please visit or inquire at The David Alan Collection store.

Alpha Montessori elementary classroom

We have devoted a corner of the store to supporting the school. We sell a special selection jewelry and other handmade items, some made by the students. 100% of those sales go to IGNITE.
(see images of these items further down in this post)

Street view of students in the front of the 3 story school (white and pale green, center building). Dry season in the rapidly growing neighborhood.

The monsoon season makes getting to and from school a daily challenge for three months of each year. They must come and go via rickshaw or be soaked in the dirty water.

Once inside the school, it is a world apart from the street environment. The students are undaunted by the difficulties coming and going. They are eager to arrive at the clean, bright, welcoming and stimulating environment each morning where they breathe in self esteem and knowledge.

The school provides high quality education to very low-income children. They are lovingly and creatively given the skills and confidence to move beyond the rigid limitations of their social class.

Without an extraordinary education like this, these children would be condemned to living and working in the same low wage, back-breaking jobs of their parents and grandparents. The students love their school, are thriving in the Arts as well as in Academics, and will have the chance to elevate their lives.
(at the end of this post, see a collection of images to get an idea of the children’s neighborhood and home environment)

Dancers on the new roof-top garden patio.

Learning about earth science and the solar systems by becoming planets in drama class

Learning math with Number Rods

Studying weights and measures

The Alpha Montessori School is currently equipped to educate 60 children from 3 to 14 years old (pre-K through 8th grade) as well as providing annual medical check-ups for each of the students and their families.

Amita’s ongoing dedication in directing the school, and teaching, has generated wildly positive results. There is no other group conducting this kind of work in that community.

Medical check-ups being given at the school to students and their families.

Building an innovative, modern educational establishment, in an area where many children never make it to school, is a formidable challenge. Basking in the glow of the children’s creativity unleashed, and the beauty of a potential realized is more than worth the bumps and difficulties endured. Hardships have fostered close bonds and confidence between staff, volunteers, students, their families, and the community, that will last a lifetime.

David teaching a ceramics class on the roof-top garden patio.

Music lessons – Learning to play the Indian Harmonium

Theater performance on the rooftop garden patio

And, a daily yoga class.

Founding and successfully maintaining a Montessori school in this environment is a herculean achievement. It is drastically changing the lives of the students, the status of the educated girls, and benefits the community.

If you have visited the David Alan Collection in Solana Beach, CA, you will have noticed the fun, colorful jewelry on a gorgeous large table in the back room of the store’s main level. All purchases here go directly to the school.

Ignite Jewelry. 100% of sales go directly to the school

Handmade necklaces, bracelets, rings, belts, and beaded purses from Bali and India. We now also have earrings and delightful greeting cards made by the students to help support their own school. All sales go to the Alpha Montessori school. $4. to $40.

Beautiful one-of-a-kind Quilled earrings handmade by 12 year old student, Nikhil. $18. pair

A few of the large one-of-a-kind greeting cards.
5 x 7 $6. each. All hand painted by the students.
They also look great framed!

A few of the small one-of-a-kind greeting cards. 4 x 6 $4. each. All hand painted by the students

100% of IGNITE jewelry and card sales goes directly to the school. It is all handmade in Bali and India and is affordably priced from $4. to $40.
They make fun and thoughtful gifts! Please come browse our display and feel good about contributing to a meaningful cause with your purchase. Each dollar makes a difference.

Please visit for more on the school’s story, the latest news, videos, images and ways to help.
To make a donation through the website:
You can also mail a contribution, in any amount, to:
Ignite: A Foundation For Learning
c/o The David Alan Collection
241 S Cedros Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075
~ all contributions are tax deductible ~

We greatly appreciate your interest,
David and Amita

David and Amita Bardwick at the jewelry launch at their David Alan Collection store

David, and Amita Bardwick Ph.D. Founder, Director and CEO of Alpha Montessori

The following images of some local businesses and a typical home in the Mandawali neighborhood in Delhi, India are posted below are to help put the school in context.

A local business owner – banana salesman

A woman at work in her Ironing Shop

Another local business owner, a cobbler

Electronics shop owner

A Taylor taking a lunch break in front of his work area. Many businesses are conducted in home and devote precious space to a devotional shrine – shown on left.

A well stocked stationary store

The kitchen in a typical home in Mandawali neighborhood

The family bed. While this child is sick, he gets the bed to himself.

The students of the Alpha Montessori school in Mandawali take nothing for granted. They take full advantage of their opportunity to learn.

Again, we thank you for your interest.