KHEL ANNUAL REPORT 2021
Covid-19 once again took center stage, and the systems we developed in 2020 to educate our kids and support them, their families, and our community continued to be useful.
“We used to do many activities in school such as dancing and sports, but now we aren’t doing any activities and we miss them. Our new gate looks great, and there were very nice changes made to our school building during the last year when we weren’t in school.” ~Arsh, LDA 8th grader
Cremations: The cost of wood to cremate is about INR10,000 (US$135/€118), a huge sum of money for India’s poor people. We gave aid to our community for cremations.
Condolences: Three staff members lost a parent: Lal Bihari Gupta (Dinesh’s father), Sharda Prasad (Lal Bahadur’s father), and Devender Joshi (Nikita’s father, who was a student at LDA many years ago). • Tiffany, who designed KHEL’s logo, passed away. Our deepest condolences to everyone who lost a loved one.
USA: We donated to a new community health center in Minnesota, BIPOC children in Missouri (food, clothing, school supplies), support for at-risk LGBT kids (food, clothing, lodging, medical and mental health services), a food shelf in rural Massachusetts, and a Native American fund in Washington state that provides food, clothing, and other support.
Community Aid: There was much more food insecurity in our community. We distributed dry rations such as pulses, rice, flour, sugar, salt, tea, and spices.
We provided 51 LDA kids with food rations, and we worked with Kamli, our City Councilor, to distribute food rations to 55 community families.
In addition to food rations, we continued to provide sanitizer, cleaning products, and free masks to our kids and community.
Medical Aid: Before the vaccine was available, two of our teachers had Covid. Dinesh, our Assistant Principal, was in the ICU for two months. We are relieved that he is home and is slowly getting better. One other teacher was in ICU but recovered quickly. When the vaccine became available, it was free in government hospitals but was often only found in private hospitals and clinics, which charged INR750-900 (US$10-12/€8.47-10.30) per dose. When free vaccines weren’t available, we paid for our staff to get vaccinated. • While Covid was the most challenging medical issue, it wasn’t the only one; we provided aid for chemotherapy, strokes, and general illnesses.
Medical Camp/Counseling: We hosted a health clinic with doctors and other staff from Rural Development Institute (RDI) to give our 6th-8th graders a check-up. Some children need supplemental nutrition.
Mental health is important, too. Jitender K. of Lions Club Dehradun held a counseling session for our 8th graders.
“In lock down I miss my school very much, I miss my friends, teachers, and classrooms. I miss playing outside with my friends at lunchtime. I wish that school would reopen soon.” ~ Aina, LDA 1st grader
We had in place the systems we developed in 2020 and pivoted smoothly between different types of teaching depending on what the Indian government mandated for schools. Ten girls and 7 boys passed their 8th grade state level finals in March. Fifteen students requested transfer certificates, which are necessary to go to high school. We had 284 enrolled students, with 259 attending either in person or online.
In September, parents who could afford to resumed paying tuition fees (INR140-240/US$1.87-3.20 /€1.60-2.48), and many families continued to pay nothing. • One high school student and three college students were given scholarship aid.
TET: We provided funding for our teachers to take the online courses necessary for the Teacher Eligibility Test (TET), a required certification for Indian teachers.
Juana Foundation: Our teachers took virtual classes with Juana Foundation and learned how to utilize Microsoft and other tools online and on LDA’s laptops. These sessions help them to keep better records and devise fun and interesting worksheets for their students.
Kids weren’t the only ones pleased when schools were open. “We faced many problems during lock down. This is the first time in my life I went through something like this. It was so difficult in lock down as my husband was not able to go to work and children were not able to go to school where they can focus on their studies. During lock downs, kids just play all day and make a nuisance of themselves.” ~ Praveen, mother of Faiz, an LDA 4th grader
Celebrations, Awards, and Successes: Congratulations to our teacher, Shivani, for passing her TET! • Congratulations to Rajeshwari, our cleaning lady, on the marriage of her daughter, Renu. • Sunita R, one of our teachers, became a grandmother. • Virtually or in person we celebrated Republic Day, International Women’s Day, Rakhi, Teachers’ Day, Independence Day, Gandhi Jayanti, Karwa Chauth, Diwali, Uttarakhand Foundation Day, Children’s Day, Christmas, and Ammaji’s birthday.
Visitors: Saraswati and Aaron visited LDA with their daughter, Raadhya. Saraswati was a teacher at LDA and several of her family members were students. KHEL paid for part of her higher education in India. She has a PhD in psychology, and is a psychologist based in the US. They distributed much needed stationery supplies to our students.
“I felt nice coming back to school because I get to meet her teachers and friends. I can study comfortably now and do many other things at school.” ~ Aksha, LDA 7th grader. Many of our students don’t have a quiet space at home to study. Coming back to the classroom means they can focus on their schoolwork. This is especially important for our older girls who have younger siblings and working parents; much of the childcare this past year was left to them.
Thank you to our friends including Ganesha’s Kinder, Swami Tat Sat and our German friends, Randall, Jay, Frank, Fred at PEERS, Anita and Manu, Sudhanshu and Kelly, Mary T., Saraswati and Aaron, KHEL’s Board, City Councilors Kamli Bhatt Parshad and Haji Iliyas Ansari Parshad, Suman, Maithili and RDI, Sav and Shiv J., HIHT, Juana Foundation, Jitender K. and Hari Om O. of Lion’s Club, Saumya and Urban H., Rajender, and Zakir. Thanks to KHEL staff for doing an extraordinary job under challenging circumstances, and to Beni, for shouldering an enormous burden and making it look easy.