Frequently Asked Questions

Shanti Bhavan is a non-religious 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in 1997 by professor, entrepreneur, and author Dr. Abraham George.

Shanti Bhavan’s current boarding school is located in Tamil Nadu, 1.5 hours southeast of Bangalore. We are currently raising funds to build a second school. You can support our efforts here.

Yes, Shanti Bhavan is a registered nonprofit in the United States and India. The Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity in the United States. In India, the Shanti Bhavan Educational Trust is registered under the Indian Trust Act. The Shanti Bhavan Educational Trust has 80-G tax exemption status and is FCRA approved. You can access the 501(c)(3) approval document here. Our financial documents are available here.

Yes! Your donations are tax-deductible in the US. There are also online options for Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, and Germany. To make a donation that is tax-deductible in India, please mail your check to our Indian office (address available here) or contact us directly via email.

Originally, all costs were paid by our founder, Dr. George, and a few close personal supporters. Shanti Bhavan has since expanded its funding base through grassroots campaigns, grants, and corporate sponsorships. Shanti Bhavan continues to look for new donors, investors, and partners.

Children recruited to Shanti Bhavan come from families that earn less than $2 a day. 60% of the children come from rural villages and 40% from urban slums. 95% of the children also belong to the Dalit caste (formerly known as the “untouchables”).

Children are selected by a veteran recruitment team using the following criteria: 1) the family must be under the poverty threshold of $2.00 per day, with preference given to single-parent households, 2) The family must be committed to keeping the child at Shanti Bhavan for the duration of the program, and 3) the family must pledge not to withdraw the child early for marriage or work purposes.

One year of 24/7 care, food, clothing, shelter, top-level education, mentorship, medical care, and access to arts and athletics programs costs roughly $2,148 per student at our residential school. During our students’ college education, costs are approximately $3,750 per student per year.

No other program offers this level of education, this length of intervention, or this amount of support completely free of charge. Our focus is on achieving results through top-level education, long-term mentoring, and professional guidance. You can read more about the Shanti Bhavan model and our core values here.

A student typically joins Shanti Bhavan at age four. Shanti Bhavan continues to provide support until the student graduates from college.

While we sincerely appreciate the concern, our children are not available for adoption. The vast majority of our children are not orphans; they have mothers, fathers, or other familial caregivers. While attending Shanti Bhavan, the care of all students is subsumed by the school, but our goal is to strengthen family bonds and connection to the children’s home communities, not replace them. In those instances when it is unsafe or otherwise not possible for a child to return home on breaks or at other times, Shanti Bhavan provides for their wellbeing. 

From day one, Shanti Bhavan instills within its children the importance of fighting against social discrimination and poverty. Shanti Bhavan students are passionate about uplifting their communities, whether it is by conducting classes in their villages, serving as role models for younger brothers and sisters, or educating their families on hygiene and health. Post-graduation, students seek prestigious leadership opportunities and jobs to bring about positive change in their communities. Additionally, many college students and working graduates regularly return to Shanti Bhavan to teach and mentor younger students.

Shanti Bhavan maintains a highly competent and dedicated team of full-time faculty, administrative staff, and support personnel. This team includes full-time Indian teachers that work at the school year-round, administrative staff that oversees the day-to-day operations, caretakers, maintenance, kitchen staff, and security. Shanti Bhavan also recruits qualified international volunteers to help carry out the institution’s mission. You can read more about the Shanti Bhavan staff here.

We receive an extremely high volume of requests to visit campus. Though we love to hear from our supporters, we are unable to accommodate most requests, as our school schedule is highly structured for the benefit of our students’ learning. In some instances, we can accommodate a half-day visit to campus. Please note that we require at least 4 weeks’ notice in order to coordinate a visit. If you are interested in visiting campus, please contact us to share your request.

We have raised $2.4 million of the projected $2.5 million required to complete Phase 1 (PreK–2nd Grade) construction. We have acquired 25 acres of beautiful land and are in the process of converting it. Our ultimate goal is to implement Shanti Bhavan schools all across the world. You can read more about Shanti Bhavan 2 here. You can support our efforts here.

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