Monday, October 31, 2011

SEE School

We are taking a break from our typical blog postings to share this story with you.  One of our directors, Indrani, was born and raised in India.  She co-founded a charitable school which she has has co-directed with her father for the last 17 years. This school is currently under siege. 

Indrani is fighting land mafia in India who have attacked the school. Her foundation (www.seeschool.org) provides free education to 300 impoverished children and women, including vocational training, a lending library, exercise facilities, clinic, and microfinancing for women's collectives in the villages, and has helped thousands to uplift themselves from the cycle of poverty. 




But instead of supporting her work, local politicians sent strongmen with threats, and when the school refused to pay bribes, they attacked. Police refused to even file complaints, and when magistrates ordered the police to restore the peace, they refused. Land mafia broke down the 10ft high walls, dug trenches, illegally occupied the schoolyard, and threatened the charity's administrators and students. 


Indrani launched a petition, and sent hundreds of emails from outraged supporters to the press, politicians and Trinamool Congress MLA "mediator." He boldly told the press that police received no complaints, nobody forcibly took over, but the land now belongs to his colleague a Trinamool Congress councillor, fearlessly implicating themselves. It was only after the story was featured in the Times of India that the thugs disappeared from the destroyed children's park.  But the Trinamool Congress councillor still threatens Indrani's family and home, and kids remain afraid, knowing thugs could return anytime. Indrani plans to soon rebuild the walls and gates.
 
So how can you help?

Please share this with your media contacts and sign the petition, to let politicians know they must root out corruption and protect the rights of the poor and those who help them: 

*****

About the school: The Ramakrishna Vedanta Society Vidyapith /Shakti Empowerment Education foundation  (www.SEEschool.org) provides free education and services to uplift 300 impoverished children and women, including literacy and vocational classes, tutoring, a lending  library, a clinic, and micro-financing for women’s collectives in the villages. Though we are small we have helped thousands and we have plans to expand to a women's college, to help many more.  Supporters of our foundation include Deepak Chopra’s foundation which has donated numerous books to our library; supermodel and TV host Iman wife of David BowieDr. Phil correspondent Kelly Cutrone, Nanubhai Education Foundation and Keep A Child AliveThe Lucie Foundation, and The Angel Orensanz Foundation Center for the ArtsThe school has been featured in articles including the Times of India, Hindustan Times, South Asia Magazine, Asiance Magazinethe Princeton Alumni Weekly and Princeton University: Major Choice, and The Washington DC-based Darshan TV “The Indian American Perspective" aired an hour-long interview on the school, while Bravo/NBC, Fox Life, Sony Entertainment TV, and AXN TV networks have devoted one hour segments to the school on “Double Exposure,” in over 50 countries.

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