St. Simon’s School is Helping Point’s largest community initiative. The school was founded in 2002 and works to meet the dire need for education in rural India.
St. Simon’s is the only government-recognized school in Gajapati District that provides an English-medium education, which is very prestigious in India. We are grateful to all global donors that allow this gift of education to be possible!
The numbers in 2019:
206 total students on role, of which 150 are boarding at St. Simon's.
75 (36%) students attend free of charge.
131 (64%) students pay fees between $75-$275 per annum, based on family income.
Desks and beds for everyone!
When the school first opened 13 years ago the vision was that one day each child would have their own bed with a mattress. Bidyuta Singh, General Secretary of Helping Point, did not himself have a bed to sleep in until he was 23 years old and, like the St. Simon’s children, slept on a mat on the floor. Consequently, this is an issue close to his heart. We are pleased to share that each child boarding in the school now has a bunk bed with a mattress. They are sleeping much more soundly and children, staff, and parents (many of whom don’t have beds at home) are incredibly grateful.
Additionally, each child now also has a desk which incorporates a bench-style seat. Students are finding the process of writing much easier than when they sat on the concrete floor, hunched over their books.
New computer room up and running
Twelve computers have been provided by Global Evangelical Mission, a UK based granting agency, and have been set-up in a dedicated computer room where all the pupils get to use them. It is hoped to have a fast internet connection soon as broadband towers are currently being built in the local village! Internet access will give the school access to many learning resources that are only available online. The aim is for the pupils to become literate in English and able to use information technology as this will greatly enhance their future career prospects.
Education all the way to age 16
In the past, St. Simon's pupils had to travel to a Baptist-run high school in Bangalore to continue their education. Now, however, they can follow their high school studies at St. Simon's following the government curriculum before moving to a government-funded place at a local college at the age of 16. Helping Point will continue to support them during this time.
Twelve St. Simon's students have completed their Year 10 exams, and are awaiting the results to know if they have successfully graduated to college. Only two of this cohort are girls, but Helping Point is committed to promoting and encouraging the education of girls in India. The yearly exams in March are taken very seriously by parents and children alike. These exams are an important part of the St. Simon’s School year too, but staff also work to protect students from the intense pressure and anxiety these exams can cause.
Helping Point’s aim is to minister to the child’s whole life, and above all for them to know the presence of Jesus in their lives. Parents’ written consent is obtained for the students to take part in the times of worship held each morning and evening when they learn Bible stories, verses and songs. The children are encouraged in their daily Bible reading and prayer.
Thank you to the many global partners that make the gift of education possible for students at St. Simon's School.