On December 25, 2022, Joshua Einhorn (MDECOE Grants Officer) visited a school in India. He brought a large suitcase full of books donated by The Book Foundation of Los Angeles, and also contributions from private philanthropists to sponsor the purchase of curricular books for all 65 of the school’s children. The day was festive with all of the teachers and school principal donning Santa hats.
Dr. Einhorn was there in his capacity as pro bono Global Advisor to The James Jay Dudley Foundation (JJDLF). The Foundation, in conjunction with other international and local charities, recently built a school and library for children from kindergarten to fifth grade. The children’s parents work the local farmland, growing potatoes, cauliflower, mustard seed, and flowers (roses, sunflowers, daisies, etc.), guava trees, mango trees, and rubber trees. They also work at the local brick factories. Historically these children have not received an education.
The Foundation negotiated with the Indian government for years to secure the land on which the school and library are built. Reflecting its strong commitment to the project, the Indian government has provided a 99-year lease at no cost and the land on which to build the school.
About 30 children in grades K-3 are taught in one schoolroom by a teacher. The other 35 children in grades 4 and 5 are taught in a second schoolroom all together by a second teacher.
The children walk or bicycle to school. School is in session five days a week from 9:00 AM to noon.
For fun, Dr. Einhorn taught the children Yoga Olympics, a fun competition to see which student could complete a Sun Salutation (a 12 posture flow series) fastest, who could hold the longest Crow position (balancing on both hands with legs in air), and who can hold the Tree (balancing on one foot) longest. Prizes included cans of Pringle, and boxes of chocolate and pineapple wafers.
The school is in a village about 10 miles from Bodh Gaya, the holy city where Buddha attained enlightenment. A tree under which Buddha meditated on his trek from Nepal to Bodh Gaya sits directly across from the newly built school.