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14th May 2011

posted 15 May 2011, 09:43 by Narssimhan Kannan   [ updated 15 May 2011, 10:06 ]
Today I met Mr. Bhalke. Since I could not go to Pune for a few weeks, I requested him to come to Mumbai. We met at Thane and talked for hours.

As I mentioned in my last post, the next challenge was to build the toilet. Mr. Bhalke had been busy with the school exams and also in estimating the total  cost of building the toilets. Today, we discussed the estimate in detail. The total estimate has now risen and is pegged at Rs. 1,70,000. This includes the cost of excavation, bricks, sand, stones, steel, kaddapa, doors, windows, the toilets, tank and labour. The anonymous donor has already pledged Rs. 1,00,000. We need to conjure up another 70 K.

After the discussion on the toilets, we moved on to the topic of the new admissions. Sunil was very happy that another 35 students have enrolled in the English medium section while 40 have joined the Marathi medium. Sunil, along with the other teachers go door-to-door convincing parents to send their children to school. The results of this effort, this year has been an addition of 75 admissions. This will take the total strength of the school to approximately 150 this year (I have always mentioned approximate figures as the children are not regular and this is one of the challenges the teachers constantly face).

Some of the students who have joined the English medium will pay their fees but most of the students who have joined the Marathi medium will not be able to. We have to support the existing and the new students. This year we (the trustees in consultation with us) have decided that we would not support all the students but only those who are economically challenged. Sunil feels that approximately 50-55 students can pay fees.

The next topic of discussion was the teachers' salaries. This year, we had decided that the teachers should get better salaries. Thus, the trustees have  decided to pay Rs. 3,000 to all Marathi medium teachers and Rs. 8,000 to all English medium teachers. We are planning to have at least five Marathi teachers and two English teachers. In addition to this, we will also need two principals, one each for the Marathi medium and English medium respectively. their salaries are being pegged at Rs. 5,000 and Rs. 10,000 respectively. The principals will also teach, of course. Thus, the total outlay for the teachers would be around Rs. 46,000. We would fall short of the target by around 21 to 25 K per month.

Finally, we discussed about the books and stationery needed for this academic year. Based on the need and the increased numbers, we planned for the notebooks, textbook sets, stationery (pencils, erasers and sharpners), uniforms, school bags and toys. The textbook sets, uniforms, and school bags will be only given to the needy as discussed before.

We also discussed the total accounts for the year and reconciled the statement of accounts as I had made several deposits as and when it had come to me and also a few from Commit so it was important that we both had the same amounts totally. There were some differences. I promised him that I will reconcile and let him know.

It was getting late. I dropped him near the ST bus stand in Thane and we bid each other farewell. On my way back, my mind was a flurry of thoughts thinking about all the challenges ahead. I was mentally making a list of people whom I would talk to and seek support. I could already think of at least five. I was also making plans to reach as many people as possible this year using email, Facebook and SEO.

If you are reading this, and if you can feel for this endeavor, please call me and let's try and do something together. We need a lot of support. :)