Impact Area: Early Childhood Education
In primary schools in Dharamsala, rote memorization is the primary teaching method, and the building infrastructure is poor, with sanitation and nutrition being primary challenges. Students are too often unsupported by both parents and teachers in meeting higher educational goals, as the local employment opportunities are primary made up of skilled and unskilled labor. Volunteers make a significant difference in both primary and early childhood education settings by introducing creative and engaging activities and teaching methods, as well as English language lessons, to support young students in achieving a solid footing in their educational path to continue to secondary school, and beyond.
Persistent inequality in India is reflected in the low human development attainments of the country’s most marginalized groups including castes, women, the transgender community, people living with HIV, migrants, and tribal and rural populations. More than 800 million of India’s 1.25 billion people live in the countryside, and a quarter of this rural population lives below the poverty line, totaling 216 million individuals. The government estimates average monthly incomes per agricultural household across the whole of India at only US $105. Families in Dharamsala face the reality of a rural economy and the pressures that come with it. Very often education is not viewed as a way out of poverty, and children are instead encouraged to contribute to the cultivation of the family land and animals. Additionally, access to health care in rural settings can be extremely limited and under resourced.
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The Gap Year India experience begins the moment you step off the plane and stays with you long after you depart. The mixture of India's languages, religions, spectacular architecture, and distinctive cuisine will rattle you, and leave you wanting more. Dharamsala is a multidimensional mountain town with a layered history and unique communities. While you are on your gap year volunteering in Dharamsala, be sure to note each and every smell, sound, and sight as you explore all that this community has to offer, because we promise that when you return home, you'll miss them all.
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