I arrived at Panchsheel Ashram School yesterday to great fanfare and joy, a celebration of homecoming. I have only been here once before - in 2015 - but somehow it feels like home. For the 2016-2017 school year, Friends of Padhar Schools funded books and writing supplies for all 600 of their students. 

Panchsheel School serves a large tribal area on the border of Maharashtra  and Madhya Pradesh, in the Maharashtra state located near the town of Bahiram. It serves the Gond and Korku tribes, poor children from 1st grade to 12th.

It is a 5+ acre live-in facility that houses and teaches almost 600 students. 50 staff including teachers, attendants, wardens, kitchen staff and other specialized trainers and tutors. The children wash their own clothes, have jobs around the site, have regimented times to study and to eat. They have high standards for their students and 100% of their 10th and 12th grade students passed board exams this year.

They offer:

• Vocational training in computers, carpentry, fabrication (welding), electrical work, and tailoring

• Homegrown vegetables and fruit from large on-site gardens

• Off-site chicken farm which produces eggs for use and sale.

• Animal care-taking of goats and cows.

• Sports facilities and teams

• Water filtration for clean drinking and washing water