The village of Piali is situated 24 kilometers outside of Kolkata (West Bengal, India). It is home to between 40,000 and 50,000 inhabitants. Our school is located in the so-called Daspara district. The name originates from the surname ‘Ruidas’, which is typical for most of the families who live here. Another characteristic of this part of the village is that most men repair shoes while women work as maid-servants (cleaners, maids, housewives). This means that mothers are usually absent for the entire day and forced to leave their children to fend for themselves. The village is very green and has lots of ponds where people swim, take baths and catch fish. Life in Piali is simple and slow.
Our goal is for our school to become a very active part of the local community. We wish to incorporate programmes that would teach unemployed women important skills (for example, literacy and math courses in addition to the sewing that we already offer). This would enable women to better take care of themselves and their families. In addition to providing elementary education, we also offer educaational programs aimed predominantly at young women, wives and mothers. We organize sewing and comsetics-hairdressing courses. We also offer a computer course, conversational English and adult literacy. Together, we create handmade greeting cards and jewlery. We are constantly learning and try to be sensitive to the actual needs and wishes of the villagers, so that newly acquired skills and knowledge would be of real benefit to them.