We are excited to confirm our new partnership with World Family Foundation in 2018 supporting the development of Prashanti International School in Puri, India.
WFF was founded following a devastating cyclone hit the state of Orissa in India in 1999. More than 10,000 people died and whole villages were swept away in one of the worst cyclones to hit the area in 100 years. The Founder, Elizabeth Burnett expanded the existing Prashanti Preschool Chatasalis tutoring program into the non-profit Prashanti School and residential children’s home. Destitute and fatherless children were taken in as boarding students and all their needs provided free of cost which included government schooling, home tutoring, food, clothing, medical expenses, and most importantly a loving environment infused with an education in human values.
In 2000, a piece of land was purchased with funds that were raised through benefit performances of Odissi classical dance in the USA. On the property there was a one-story building and a strong boundary wall with a large entry gate. The first group of 21 orphaned children came in May of 2000. They were still wearing the same ragged clothes from six months earlier when the cyclone destroyed their homes. All were malnourished, traumatized, and several were ill and had severe nightmares.
To meet the growing needs of these destitute and fatherless children, and as more children arrived over time, expansion was needed. World Family Foundation (WFF) was established in the United States in 2002 as a 501 (c) 3 tax-exempt charitable trust in order to meet the ever-increasing needs of these dear children.
Since its inception, several of the children have graduated, some have completed college and have become professionals, and some have gone onto vocational training and are in the workplace. Without Prashanti School’s dedication, staff and guidance, they would not have had this opportunity. As the older children leave the school, there are many other needy children waiting to be admitted. There are now 38 sponsored primary school children, plus 7 in college.
Creation of Prashanti International School
WFF had a dream of creating an English language school, where all classes are taught in English from kindergarten onwards. The need is so great in the area for quality education – illiteracy and poverty rates are extremely high in rural Odisha.
World Family Foundation purchased land and renovated buildings to create Prashanti International School (PIS), which was inaugurated on July 22, 2010. It provides classes for lower and upper kindergarten through to sixth grade with a new class level to be added each year. In the 2016 school year they had approximately 178 children attending up to 6th grade – 38 residential primary school children and 140 young children from the surrounding villages.
The PIS curriculum has a strong academic and cultural emphasis with a foundation based on the human values of truth, right action, peace, love and non-violence. We also stress the importance of service to the community.
All children in India, from all social strata, must compete for academic advancement on standardized, national tests. It is a very competitive environment. Prashanti International School’s English based education levels the playing field for these village children.
In addition to this high standard of education, one of the founding principles of World Family Foundation is preserving the integrity of each child's cultural and religious background.
School Expansion Project: At this point in time, PIS only has enough classrooms to house Kindergarten up to 6th Grade. It is essential to be able to take the students through to 10th Grade (secondary school graduation), as the local government schools do not properly serve the needs of these students. With support from World Family Foundation, located in Ojai, California, USA, the goal is to continue to expand the school both physically and academically, to encompass classes all the way through 10th grade.
Upon graduation, and proving competency in English, alumni have the ability to qualify for school and jobs outside the local Puri area as well, freeing them up to pursue a financially self-sufficient life that might have otherwise been unreachable for them. Happily, however, many choose to remain local and give back to their own communities by teaching, tutoring, and working in medical fields.
Of note, Prashanti International School also provides jobs for local adults in the forms of teachers, tutors, security and groundskeepers, cooks, and caregivers, which in turn strengthens the overall local economy and connection to the community.
Please visit the World Family Foundation website worldfamilyfnd.org for more information.
The S&PK Foundation has pledged to support the WFF new building fund from January 2018 onwards. Our initial donation will go towards the construction of the second half of the ground floor and future donations will see the addition of a new auditorium and surrounding wall.