To promote the intercultural dialogue between young people from Germany and India, we have initiated a variety of aid and cooperation projects. While the Indian Forum is responsible for organisation and implementation from the German side, our most important project coordinator in India is Mukut Bodra. Together with other helpers, he oversees and coordinates the activities in Chaibasa and around. Thereby he is in regular contact with the board of the Indian Forum and contributes with his experience and commitment to the diverse projects.
On this page you find information on our current projects in India and Germany. In addition, we regularly report on our current activities at our facebook page.
Our projects in Germany
A central task of the Indian Forum is the promotion and supervision of the school partnerships, that have been established over the years. These were at first partnerships between the Mahatma Gandhi School in Berlin Marzahn and the Springdales School in Delhi, and with the Lutheran High School Chaibasa.
After the Mahatma Gandhi School had been closed, the Tagore School, which is also located in the Berlin district of Marzahn, continues the district’s Indian heritage since 2007. It maintains its contacts to the schools in Chaibasa, and has established an additional school partnership with Shantiniketan.
Indian partner school: Lutheran Schools Chaibasa
On the area of the Lutheran Gossner Church in the heart of the Indian town of Chaibasa (Jharkhand) there are 4 Lutheran Schools. In detail these are one girls primary school, one boys primary school, one mixed middle school and one high school for boys.
A significant number of students of the Lutheran Schools belongs to the group of the Adivasi (about 70%), the native inhabitants of India. The rest are Hindus of different castes, Mulims and others. Around 10% of the students are Christian.
German partner school: Tagore School Berlin-Marzahn
The Tagore-Schule is a linguistic and artistic oriented Gymnasium (German grammar school) in Berlin Marzahn-Hellersdorf. On the 2nd of May 2006 it was named Tagore School in presence of the ambassador of the Republic of India and of the district mayor. Within the framework of the connections to the Republic of India, every year the Tagore festival is being held, which is the highlight of the school’s cultural activities.
Within the framework of the visit of an Indian delegation at the Tagore School, we had also invited a teacher who is able to speak German. She spent most of her time in two primary schools in the district of Marzahn. During one week each she taught Indian dances, songs and poems of Tagore to the students of the Peter Pan School and the “Grundschule unterm Regenbogen”. The highlight of the visit was a farewell celebration at the Tagore School, during which the primary school students performed the learned dances and songs.
Student exchange trips
Between the Tagore School and the Indian partner schools there are regular student exchange programs in both directions. The Indian Forum manages an important part of the planning and organisation of these student exchange trips.
We think, these intercultural encounters offer the students the opportunity to get to know each other and become aware of each other’s joy, wishes, hopes and sorrows. Usually a member of the Indian Forum accompanies these trips.
Sebastian Keller has already accompanied multiple student groups and contributed to the success of the trips with his language skills and knowledge about the country and its people.
Under the menu item Journeys some students have published experience reports, which let you read some first-hand experience on these exchange trips. Click here to get directly to the experience reports.
Workshops and seminars
Within the framework of different events we try to give German students an understanding of the Indian culture and society. The best results here have been achieved in cooperation with the Tagore school. There, a special course on the topic of India has been established. Several times, members of the Indian Forum have conducted the course and worked with the students on topics like “Globalisation in India”.
In addition, a Hindi study group has been established with out support, in which the students were able to obtain basic knowledge of this language, that is widely used in India.
Our projects in India
Our biggest project is the sponsorship programme for children who otherwise would not have the chance to attend school. The project was started in 2005 gives orphans, dropouts and children in need from slums the opportunity to achieve graduation.
Already more than 50 children have been supported by the sponsorship programme and we are happy about everyone who wants to become a sponsor to support a child in India.
The costs for a sponsorship currently amount to 8 Euro per month and include (amongst other things): school fee, school uniform, books, accessories, a warm meal every day. In addition, two euros from the above-mentioned amount go into a joint account for emergency medical treatment.
Slum Centres in Ranchi
Thanks to a generous donation of the Berlin-based association Die Kappe e.V., educational umbrella organisation for the Creativity School Centre Berlin, we implemented the project ‘Slum Centres’ in cooperation with YMCA Ranchi in 2019 and 2020. The goal was to support educational work in the urban slums of Ranchi. The so called slum centres have been operated by the YMCA in the social hot spots of the growing city for many years. Especially children from poor families are enabled to receive an education this way.
Together with our Indian partners, YMCA Ranchi increased the quality of the educational centres within this joint project. This particularly encompassed large-scale repair works of the centres, which were previously in a bad state of repair, as well as their redesign in a way appropriate for children.
Martha Kindergarten Chaibasa
Based on the ideals of a non-violent, playful education a new kindergarten was built on the premises of our partner schools in Chaibasa. Besides many other Indian and German donors, the Indian Forum participated in the construction of the kindergarten, both financially and with active work on site.
The kindergarten teachers were trained in Germany in 2018. In early 2019 the new “Martha Kindergarten” was eventually completed. Among others, members of our partner organization SARJOM, weltwärts volunteers from Ranchi, a partner group of the Lichtenberg-Oberspree church district, and project initiator Helga Ottow attended the two large inauguration ceremonies.
For photos of the kindergarten please check out our news article about the opening ceremony.
Desks & benches, play & sports equipment
Many class rooms are not equipped with desks and benches and the students have to sit on the cold stone floor and use their school bags as desks. Therefore we are particularly happy, that thanks to generous donations from Germany more and more classrooms at our partner schools on the Lutheran Compound in Chaibasa can be equipped with desks and benches, and that the learning environments has been significantly improved already. All of the furniture has been made in a local carpenter’s workshop.
In addition, play and sports equipment has been repeatedly donated to the schools in Chaibasa, especially for the younger students.
German volunteers in Chaibasa
Together with “Deutsch-Indische Zusammenarbeit” (DIZ) and Gossner Mission in Germany as well as with Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church (GELC) in India, we can send young people to Chaibasa within the framework of the German “weltwaerts” volunteer programme. There, they engage in development aid and youth work. The primary tasks are the supervision of the children of the sponsorship programme, awareness training, home visits, the organisation of the extra-curricular leisure programme (sports, games, and music) as well as English and computer lessons.
At the moment the programme has been interrupted by the German Foreign Department due to security concerns in the region.
One of these projects was the establishment of a computer room in one of the schools. This computer room is now being used for IT lessons to improve the students’ abilities in handling computers.\
Another initiative was the sewing project. With the help of donations from Germany, we bought four sewing machines including accessories. Especially women are to be educated in using the sewing machines, to become more independent by earning their own money.
During a gardening project, Indian and German students helped with the cultivation of a field on the school compound, which was meant to be used for practical biology lessons.
During one of the students exchange trips, we initiated a garbage collection project, to raise awareness in both students and teachers for the problem of the omnipresent pollution with garbage in India. After prior consultation with the school management, all students and teachers of the Lutheran High School were called to clean the campus with us.