This school has fought dwindling funds to keep hope alive for education in the village of Karnataka

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Basavaraj returned to Bhaktharahalli, a village in rural Bangalore district of Karnataka, four years ago as a science graduate to teach at his village school. People of his parents’ generation had to walk miles to reach a high school, Basavaraj thanked his stars for this opportunity.

The way was paved for Basavaraj and 600 other graduates from the villages around Bhakharahalli to aspire and obtain an education through the village’s BMV Primary and Secondary School, which narrowly escaped closure in 2008 due to the lack of funds.

The school, run by BMV Education Trust named after Bharat Ratna M Visvesvaraya, was founded in the 1980s by Kalappa Lakshmaiah and his village friends as a gift to young boys and girls in the village who had to walk at least 10 km to reach the nearest high school.

The school became a reality but with limited resources it ran into financial problems. The state government supported them with funds for primary education, but the Trust struggled to run the high school.

Lakshmaiah, now the trust’s founding secretary, remembers the hard times. “We didn’t even have enough money to pay salaries. We were about to close.”

As the school was about to close, the Trust collaborated with the Smile Foundation’s ‘Change the Game India’ programme, where Lakshamaiah and others received training in how to raise funds, organize programs and such. “We managed to raise funds and we are racing now. We have 18 employees, including 15 teachers,” Lakshmaiah said.

The impact of the school in the village is huge, said Lakshmaiah DH. He proudly remembers that most of those who have graduated in the village over the years are young women. He says the school has also succeeded in curbing the practice of child marriage to a very large extent, as female students are specifically sensitized to the problem of child marriages.

“We now have 300 students from the 4-5 villages around Bhakharahalli. We hope to grow more,” he said.

Smile Foundation co-founder and executive trustee Santanu Mishra said her idea was to work with community organizations and social entrepreneurs through the “Change the Game India” program. “I believe this is the best way to bring lasting change at the grassroots, as these organizations have the last-mile connectivity to effectively implement social protection programs and government programs,” he said. he declares.

“Over the past two decades, we have worked with many CBOs, not only training them, but also supporting them every step of the way. Through Change the Game India, we are advancing this vision to enable and strengthen many other community initiatives,” he added.

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