July 12, 2017

For the students of the Government Lower Primary School at Dasarahalli in Hebbal, Bengaluru, school was a rundown building with the bare minimum of amenities. That was until June this year. The 100 children, aged 6 to 10, now have a modern school building with four classrooms, a computer room, a staff room, a kitchen, and a separate toilet block for girls and boys.

This came about due to concerted effort by the Inner Wheel Club of Bangalore which made it its most important project of 2016-17. The school was inaugurated on June 26, 2017 with much joy from students, teachers, officials of the state education department and the large community of well wishers who contributed to the new building. Usha Subramanian, Immediate Past President, Inner Wheel Club of Bangalore, takes The Good City through the journey.

Triveni & Vinod Hayagriv, generous sponsors of the school, with Inner Wheel members who worked indefatigably to build the school.
Triveni & Vinod Hayagriv, generous sponsors of the school, with Inner Wheel members who worked indefatigably to build the school.

The day I decided to take over as the President of theInner Wheel Club of Bangalore, one of the largest women’s organisation in the world, I aimed to focus on one big project that would be a legacy for years to come. ‘Teach a child, empower a family’ is a popular slogan and I decided to focus on education.

The spanking new school building
The spanking new school building

Building a school was the first thought that came to my mind. We started to look for options within the city as it is well connected and we could follow up on a regular basis. We surveyed a lot of government schools and we made our decision based on two factors: a) the number of children and b) the extent of dilapidation of the structure. 

We set up a budget and approached various corporates and individuals. Towards the tail end of our long search, we finally met with Dr Vinod Hayagriv of CKC Group.  Hayagriv shared the same vision as ours and instantly agreed to match the funds we raise. Soon after, the Bhoomi Pooja was conducted and the construction began.

(From left)  Tasneem Jiruwala, Manjunath Aneikar,  Sukhen Padmanabha, Ranga Rao & Usha Subramanian – the lead team from the Inner Wheel Club & the Rotary Club of Bangalore.
(From left)  Tasneem Jiruwala, Manjunath Aneikar,  Sukhen Padmanabha, Ranga Rao & Usha Subramanian – the lead team from the Inner Wheel Club & the Rotary Club of Bangalore.
 

Within six months the school was completed. A lot of thought went into the design of the structure and the classrooms. We were fortunate that Rotary Club of Bangaloreincluded this under its 100 Happy Schools project and two of its members, Sukhen Padmanabha, a leading architect, designed the school while Manjunath Aneikar took charge of the construction. We built a total of four classrooms, a computer room, a staff room and separate toilet blocks for boys and girls. The architect has planned a pillar structure keeping in view the future expansion of the school.

The derelict old classrooms (left) have been transformed into cheerful, bright ones.
The derelict old classrooms (left) have been transformed into cheerful, bright ones.

We did not stop at just the building, we have built a new compound wall and landscaped the grounds with flowering trees. We also collaborated with the wonderful people from ‘The Ugly Indian’ and painted the exterior of the school building. 

We had generous contributions from well-wishers, three of them paid for a classroom each while many others donated as well. We had two successful fund raising events – a supper theatre and a culinary workshop.

There were a lot of challenges that we faced on the way.

But through transparency and assertive communication, we were able to bring around the local community and the government officials, convincing them about our purpose. The beaming faces of the children and the faculty made all the effort, challenges and the time spent, completely worth it. The children waited until the day of the launch to break into their brand-new shoes and their uniforms. The simplicity of their joy was a reminder of why we started this beautiful project in the first place.

Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda inaugurated the school.
Karnataka Agriculture Minister Krishna Byre Gowda inaugurated the school.

play kids

Image Credits: Sridhar Pole

Editor’s Note: If you would like to share stories of activities and people that make your city good, do write to hello@thegoodcity.in