The Village School Project 2019

This is Putti, a sweet little girl that I had the pleasure of meeting whilst studying to be a yoga teacher in 2016 at Shrimath Yoga in Southern India. Putti and the many other children of all ages sat on the floor in a single classroom, they were content, hungry for knowledge and as bright as buttons. For my part, I simply loved them, and as a teacher of privileged international students in Denmark, I felt the seed of an idea that perhaps I could share the excess of school supplies that we occasionally threw away. Maybe seek donations of pencils and paper? instead of the worn-down stubs and scraps which Putti used – unaware of the disparity as she drew pictures of the Danish flag on the cleanly swept mud floor.

 

Parity is the keyword for International Women’s Day 2019! #BalanceforBetter

The internet is a wondrous thing, and my covert blog posts (I should have been offline at the yoga school) struck home with first one teacher, who unbeknown to me began rallying her dance class to raise funds, the headmistress of the International school opened the floodgates to unused school supplies, and students and families started offering school stationery items, toys and books. It was like blossoming flowers in the springtime, and I wept for joy in my hard Indian bed, amazed at the goodness in people’s hearts as they opened up to the idea that we can make a difference.
It didn’t stop there though, as the co-founder of SceneKunst theatre school in Copenhagen, Russell Collins had been following the story. I wept buckets when he raised and offered funds for purchasing a water filtering system for the children which was speedily installed while I was there. The Village School Project went straight to the source; no middlemen, no bureaucracy (apart from difficulties with endless paperwork when sending items into India) and was helped along and guided by Krishna . Facebook friends from everywhere sent packages of pens, hope, and generosity. The world continued flowering and anything  seemed possible.

Upon my return to Denmark the fundraising continued, and soon a large number of supplies were packed and kindly shipped for free by the mighty transportation firm, DSV – Global Transport and Logistics, thanks to Sandra Teeuwen and her husband for facilitating this. All obstacles along the way miraculously disappeared, and when faced with exorbitant fees for transferring funds a friend suggested ordering books and supplies for the village school through Amazon India. BRILLIANT! For the first time in the village an Amazon delivery bounced up the rutted path in clouds of dust, and the eager children sniffed the heady perfume of freshly printed books.

 

I smile at the memories, and you can read more of those covert blog posts from India when I should have been meditating under the banyan tree here. 

The Village School is still very much alive today, and is the chosen destination for your donations from International Women’s Day 2019 (Copenhagen). Just like three years ago the love, care, and goodness are flowing once again, this time I’m orchestrating this major event through a community group that I’ve founded called K.I.N.D. (Keep International Networks Denmark) and in conjunction with the best international newspaper in Denmark, The International Denmark .

I promise that I will do all that I can to bring about small changes for Putti and her friends with the help of my friend and mentor, Krishna at Shrimath Yoga near Bangalore. The thought now is to establish some scholarships to help these great children to get a rich and varied education. If you’d like to contact me for more information, to make a donation, or to attend the event on the 8th of March, then please contact me by email here.

Namaste,
Heather Gartside

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