13 Apr 2009

Support Archway School project to create a school in Bihar

In the Farmers Market in Stroud on Saturday there was an Archway School stall promoting the Project Bihar (India) - it is about 'building a school for orphans and marginalised children'.

The Initiative for Social Change and Action - see more here including re the Archway School visit - has helped fund a residential home for children and temporary huts for the schooling of 160 children however heavy rains have washed the temporary huts away. Archway are helping raise funds for a permanent building, staff costs, counselling, healthcare and projects to raise awareness about ensuring social equality and education for all. See more how you can help here and click on Bihar Project - email them at:

Back in 1984 I was fortunate to spend nearly a month in Bihar helping an 'alternative' tourism project - it was about trying to show people the real India rather than just the tourist sites - I have mixed feelings about that - a topic for another blog perhaps - but it was an amazing experience - the state is one of the poorest in India with many displaced people, private armies ran parts of the country
- indeed The Economist wrote in 2004 about Bihar having become a "byword for the worst of India, of widespread and inescapable poverty, of corrupt politicians indistinguishable from mafia-dons they patronise, caste-ridden social order that has retained the worst feudal cruelties".

I also spent some of the time at McCluskieganj, a small town which used to have a significant Anglo-Indian community. It was a most unusual place in that it was founded by the Colonization Society of India in 1933 as an independent homeland for Anglo-Indians and was home to 400 Anglo-Indian families. When I was there, there were some 25 plus families - less than a 100 people but according to Wikipedia only 20 families remain there - indeed most of the Anglo-Indian community left after World War II. Of course many others Indians live in the town and surrounding area and I can remember a great walk to the nearest market - anyhow I'm rambling off topic suffice to say that I think a project like this one Archway are helping in Bihar is important.

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