Amarpurkashi Rural Polytechnic
Development of Amarpurkashi is the vision of Mr Mukat Singh, who returned to his roots after completing his education in the UK. His intellectual conviction that grass root development is the real answer to the problem of poverty in India, led him to take up the challenge of improving livelihoods, education and health of the rural poor.
Two decades ago Amarpurkashi had no educational institutions. Today the project runs and manages a primary, junior and high school as well as a polytechnic. It has a good reputation for providing quality education service to the rural community.
In July 2004, the Amarpurkashi Project helped to establish a junior high school in the village of Jafarpur, a very rural area of Islamnagar in the Budaun District. The Project had been approached by the head of the village council and several other villagers concerned that there were no schools offering education further than primary school. Because the children would have to travel long distances to the nearest high school, most children particularly girls, did not study beyond primary level.
The school currently has five teachers and 150 pupils studying grades 6th, 7th and 8th. The school has two classrooms, an open area with a tin roof, one hand pump and a very crude toilet. Now due to increased demand for junior high school places, the project would like to expand the school to cater for 300 pupils.
The project requires funds for building the boundary wall, installing toilets and washing facilities and two hand pumps all using local labour and materials. The School also needs teaching aids and books and furniture for the classrooms made by local carpenters.
For the last few years, government micro-credit schemes have been run in co-operation with banks to help those people living below the poverty line (BPL). The scheme has had mixed success as in many areas, the self-help groups that were formed under this scheme are now rapidly disintegrating. The overall picture shows that only a small number of BPL members benefit in any substantial or sustainable way.
Amarpurkashi project would like to provide training to self-help groups in Bilari, a block covers 120 villages. It is a mainly agricultural area growing sugar cane, rice, wheat, millet, sorghum, menthol and various vegetables. Land is quite fertile but rainfall is uncertain and the micro-credit schemes help to finance irrigation facilities such as diesel engines and electric tube wells.
The training will cover 10 self-help groups or a total of 100 members for a period of will be 3½ months. The benefits of the training will:
- Give practical skills to manage small scale enterprise
- Help build self confidence
- Develop negotiation skills
- Pricing of products and logistics of delivery