While its economy grows and flourishes, millions of people are being left behind without access to the same standards of education and opportunity as the more fortunate. Today, over 75% of India’s population lives on less than $2 per day. Most of our children live in severe poverty in rural villages. They live in thatched roofs without electricity and plumbing. They do not have toilet facilities. Cooking is usually done inside the house with inadequate ventilation with fuels such as cow-dung, firewood or crop residue, exacerbating the risk of tuberculosis. Water must be transported from community wells. Electricity is limited, and inadequate for evening study. Dalits have high drop out from schools. While enrollment in Indian primary schools (grades 1-5) is increasing, less than 66% complete fifth grade. The percentage is even lower for girls, and poor students living in rural villages. Only 53% of students enroll in secondary school (grades 6-12). The quality of education is very poor in the public schools. Learning achievements in both primary and secondary schools are low. Teacher absenteeism is high. On any given day, 25% of teachers in rural government schools are absent, and among those present only half are teaching. Class supplies are extremely limited. India has 22% of the world’s population and 46% of the world’s illiterates. Out of the 29 districts in Tamil Nadu, the Villupuram District ranks 28th in literacy. 64.48% of males and only 53% of the women are literate. Consequently, parents cannot provide their children with the help they need to succeed academically. They have limited knowledge of the opportunities that are available outside their villages and can provide limited guidance for their children.
Uniqueness of this Program
St.Patrick’s Academy is certainly a unique program that is designed to suit the needs of children who lack opportunities. We try a model that not many have thought of. We invest in the lives of those who may not able to return anything back to us. We see something potential in them through which they can contribute something significant both for the community and for the nation. This is the reason we would like to peel out something from these children who one day can become great leaders and productive members of our society. What keeps most of our people in bondage is illiteracy, poverty and ignorance. This is the reason why most of them have always been at the bottom. They had no scope of moving forward. It is my conviction that our academy will serve as a symbol of hope to children from socially and economically deprived backgrounds, and a means to attain their dreams.