Dear Friends and Supporters of Shanti Bhavan:
Another year has passed since I last wrote to you, and I wish to tell you about the progress we have made at Shanti Bhavan since then. I hope this message gives you reason for cheer.
Since the lockdown was imposed due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, we kept Shanti Bhavan running—maintaining strict protective measures and sheltering our children safely on campus rather than sending them home for long vacations. While this decision placed considerable burden and responsibility on all our staff, we continue to operate smoothly without any incident. Shanti Bhavan is probably the only major school of its kind in India that has kept its residential facilities and on-site classes running throughout the entire period of lockdown.
Being mindful of the financial condition of poor families in the nearby villages, we have been distributing food rations, utensils, and blankets each month to twelve villages. This is essential as many are without jobs, and we plan to continue until the situation stabilizes.
Despite the isolation and the many difficulties faced, our children have only improved in their academic performance. We now expect them to score an average of over 90% in the 10th grade ICSE and the 12th-grade ISC board examinations. Our goal is for all-around development in the children—academic, interpersonal skills, leadership qualities, and good character. We could not be more proud.
By now, you must have heard about the exemplary achievement of six of our recent graduates who received full scholarships to study in top colleges in the U.S.—Princeton, Dartmouth, Northwestern, Stanford, Duke, Middlebury, Grinnell, and others. They received over the 97th percentile in SATs and demonstrated their ability to overcome adversities. In addition, our earlier graduate, Shilpa, has joined Hofstra University for her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. These achievements have no parallel elsewhere in India—children from the poorest families in the country are breaking all barriers in one generation.
I also want to inform you that we have started development of the grounds for the second school, and will begin the construction of the initial set of buildings in the second half of next year. A second Shanti Bhavan school will double our impact by welcoming many more deserving children.
I am very thankful to all those who have been a part of the lives of our students. As supporters and friends of Shanti Bhavan, you can be proud of what you have made possible, even as we look forward to what comes next. Your contributions have been crucial in offering our students the opportunity to reach their potential.
I end this note with a request: to please consider a year-end contribution to Shanti Bhavan by sponsoring a child or making a donation. Many companies offer plans to match funds for charitable contributions; if such a plan is available to you, enrolling yourself in it can help Shanti Bhavan even further. Please assist at whatever levels you can afford; every donation matters. We need your help now more than ever before. Please do not postpone your decision.
Abraham M. George