Roadsign School Development Program: 8th challenge met!

Nearly 5 years without talking here of our commitment in opening schools in India. But we never given up and the 8th primary school of our program opened last February in the Bangalore district. A huge event to be discussed with Wolfgang Paul, Roadsign President for Europe who made the trip there…

[ A vast collaborative project ]

If you know Roadsign, it is mostly thanks to him. With friendship and in the footsteps of its Australian founder Roger Carthrew, Wolfgang spearheads the brand in France and Europe for few decades. He ran the world under its banner and aims to share our core values wherever it is needed and possible. Possible is a frequent word when he evokes this program.

“Roadsign supplies funds for the construction of schools but nothing would be possible without cooperation of Wessling and Bangalore Rotary Clubs, without the personal commitment of Marcus Burgold (Pt of Jansen Fashion Group), Brigitte and Guido Koch and our European licensees. Easy to understand that he admires and feels worn by their sincere implication.”

Then naturally, Wolfgang Paul highlights the awesome involvement of the Bangalore Rotary Club. The driver and responsible of our schools development program is Sridhar Chari. Professional in fabric, Rotary member and engaged with the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce, he humbly admits playing a connecting and facilitating role for “offering” school to children that have no access. The commitment and assistance brought by DR Elizabeth Cherian Paramesh, President of Rotary Bangalore allow to inaugurate – on February 15 – a brand new school in the village of Rayasandra. Strong action, creativity, time, knowledge, energy deployed on serving a key objective for India and its kids.

[ Brighten horizons for 350 million children ]

Yes, nearly 30% of Indians are less than 14 years old. Everything seems oversized continent-wide for it will count 1.5 billion people in 2030. India is a federal democracy with 28 states and only 7 territories managed by the central government. 70% inhabitants are living in rural zones and, even if school is compulsory from 6 to 14 since 2010, the lack of primary public schools and their ramshackle state result in depriving many zones of education. The central government trains and pays teachers but could not repair or build schools in those regions. In big towns, private schools – very expensive and selective – can welcome few kids.

In the countryside, family sometimes prefer children helping in domestic or agricultural tasks instead walking many hours daily to schools where 80 of all ages are sitting on the ground in the unique classroom listening to several teachers talking about different subjects at the same time… The stage is set! We could add that secondary schools are reserved to an elite and degrees of varying quality. The challenge is critical and Roadsign chose to help giving basic teachings to most children.

[ Rotary Roadsign Gvt Higher Primary School ]

We are proud of this nice heading on the façade… February 15 was truly a colourful festival in Rayasandra as the entire village celebrated the event. In time, classrooms will welcome 100 kids in 7 levels classes, “and a Nalli Skali, a large room where the pupils are learning by doing, exploring and developing multiple forms of intelligence” adds Sridhar Chari.

In every Rotary Roadsign school, awareness on hygiene is important. Here we have toilets for girls and boys, modern kitchen, pupil’s desks, outer games equipment and clean water. It was necessary to dip to 70m depth and install a water-treatment system. Invaluable things for those kids used to live without running water. In the same time, the World Health program of hand washing (Wash IN Schools project) led here by DR Cherian has all its place.

Wolfgang Paul tells “Since the first request to the Government in 2006, local actors and partners have been strongly working together to implement the project”. With his flower necklace and a large smile, we guess on the event photos that he was a special guest. What he did not tell us, we discovered it by the voice of the Bangalore Rotary President few days after the party: “Thank you Mr Wolfgang Paul for flying in from Paris to be at the inauguration. Your presence made a great impact”.

[ Charm and fragility of a land of contrasts ]

Joyful, Wolfgang teaches us a lot by giving facts and anecdotes lived in India. He highlights “crazy contrasts”, a great simplicity and a total lack of arrogance. He talks about the « deep Indian way of being » of the owner of a famous textile company exporting over 44 countries who is living in the desert and welcomes you bare feet. Or the town of Bangalore where 60.000 Microsoft employees work in top-modern buildings while – less than 2 hours away – there is no water and electricity. He says that a private wedding can easily welcome 25 000 guests like in Bollywood but confirms that the gap between private and public is abysmal, the neglect of numerous zones is a reality. It doesn’t take more for enhancing our motivation to discover and share the world.

Moreover, further the animal shelters created by Roger Carthrew in the Bush and after the recent forest fires, Wolfgang reveals that a project of building new long-term shelters in Australia is emerging. Here or there, it seems that Roadsign has new routes to mark up!

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