Sacred Heart School
The Sacred Heart’s School is located in the little town of Kanthaloor set amongst the foot hills of the Western Ghat mountain ranges. Surrounded by protected forests, sandlewood reserves and sugarcane plantations, Kanthaloor is predominantly a tribal town which supports 15 tribal villages and about 15 other backward community villages. This is a remote town and accessible only by road. The closest town is Munnar, which is about 60 kilometers away.
School – A brief note
The Sacred Heart’s School is the only school in the region and was started by a missionary group in the late fifties. With no schools or education system, the area had zero percent literacy. An upper primary section was established in 1958 and was upgraded to a high school in 1960. Being a backward region, there was initial reluctance and opposition from the tribal communities to send their children to school. It took more than 20 years before the missionary groups were able to convince the tribal villagers to send their children to school. Even now there are a few hill tribal villages that shun school and contact with outsiders.
The Sacred Heart’s School currently has 650+ children from the surrounding villages. The school is desperately short of teachers mainly because of the remoteness of the region and the lack of qualified teachers from within the region. Being remote and run by a missionary group, they receive very little funding from the government and rely on fundraising and donations. The school also runs a children’s home for both boys and girls. This is run as a registered orphanage and houses children from the age of 4 years to 16 years. Since the school can’t afford any form of transport for the children and there is very limited public transport system in the area, the orphanage also doubles up as a hostel for children from even more remote villages. The school is currently trying to raise funds for a vehicle.
Since its inception, the school has been able to raise the standard of literacy among the tribal villages. Some of the current heads of the villages are the former students of this school. The school has also been able to raise awareness about various issues like health, hygiene, birth control, social issues like women’s rights, domestic and alcohol abuse among the community. Through the school, the teachers have also been able to imbibe values of forest and wildlife conservation in the children and raise awareness among the parents of tribal children about poaching, smuggling and exploitation in the hands of middlemen.
Voluntary positions available
Yearoutindia has recently adopted this project after one of our volunteer coordinators visited the school and found the dire conditions and desperate lack of facilities available for the children.
Yearoutindia plans to support the school by providing assistance in the way of Volunteer Teachers through its Reach & Teach programs and Volunteer Workers through its Caring for Orphans & Community Development programs. We are also attempting to raise much needed funds for these community development projects.
The volunteers will be able to live and assist at the school by teaching the children various subjects including spoken English, Arts & Crafts, Drama etc or any other subject depending on the school’s needs and volunteer’s interests. You can help with the training and daycare facilities or help host staff conduct recreational activities, teach classes and serve meals.
If you have first-hand experience working with children with disabilities, professionally or personally, your expertise can be especially useful at a nearby centre for disabled children / children with difficulties.
Besides enabling them to interact with someone from a different culture, it will be a wonderful and rare opportunity for children to learn new skills often beyond their present financial, social and educational constraints. Volunteers will also help in repairing and renovating the existing infrastructure of the school and also contributing/helping in building much needed classrooms etc.
Yearoutindia is also looking for enthusiastic individuals with a flair for sports to come, live and teach/coach at the school. The school plans to conduct sports camps throughout the year. This is an ideal opportunity for sports enthusiasts to be a resident sports coach/teacher at the school for 4/6/8 weeks. Even if you’ve never formally taught/coached before, you can assist the local sports teachers in their day-to-day work at the school. You don’t need to know the local language or the methods of the local school system. All you need is enthusiasm and a desire to share your knowledge with these children. The outcome could easily be the most rewarding volunteering experience of your life.
The children range from upper primary to high school. You could help conduct camps in any sports discipline from football, cricket, volleyball, badminton, gymnastics, Aerobics to maybe something new like rugby, rounders or bocce ball which probably none of the kids have ever heard of, let alone played. In exchange, they might teach you the exciting & physically challenging Indian sport of “Khabaddi” or “Kho-Kho”. So be prepared to get mobbed!
To enable a sense of continuity, we request our volunteers to commit to a minimum of 4 weeks. This will help the children get used to you and also enable you to settle into the school community. We have a maximum of two volunteer places available at any one time at the school. These can be extended according to the needs of the children and the availability and skills of the individual volunteer. You’ll usually teach about four hours a day, Monday through Friday, and have 2 hours each day to collaborate with the staff and prepare for classes. The rest of the day is for free time. Please apply early.
4/8/12 Week Teaching/Community development program at a rural school in south India:
Yearoutindia Reach & Teach and Community Development programs are looking for committed volunteers with a passion for teaching and child welfare to come, live and work at this remote tribal village town of Kanthaloor for 4-12 weeks. As a Yearoutindia volunteer, you will be able to supplement the teaching activities and also provide a refreshing change to the children of this amazing school.
The location being remote, volunteers will need to be resourceful, flexible, adventurous, patient and above all have a big heart to work with these children. Please note that teaching schedules are planned taking into consideration the current timetable of the school and teaching volunteers must be flexible enough to adapt to the teaching needs of the school.
Program duration & cost:
RT-SHS103- English / Art Teacher / Sports Assistant
OR-LFO203- Teaching / Caring for Orphans
Please read our Do It All Program page for opportunities to mix and match various volunteering activities according to availability.