WELCOME TO ADVENTURE ASHRAM’S
BIG BUS APPEAL
7 years ago, on one of our adventures in South India, we discovered there was a group of tribal children living on the outskirts of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve who were unable to attend school. It was simply too dangerous because of long distances, heavy rains that made the road conditions treacherous and the wild animals, including elephants and tigers that live in the area. A local man called Solomon, Managing Trustee of a small grass roots charity Grace Charitable Trust, told us that if the children had a bus that came to the village with a reliable and kind driver, had uniforms, school shoes and books they would have a good chance of engaging in mainstream school. So, with the help of adventurer Stefano Buliani we funded a school bus, driver and everything else the children needed.
For the last 7 years this bus has taken over 40 children to and from school every day. With the poor condition of the roads, the extreme weather and everything the bus has had to cope with, it is not surprising that it is now time for a new one! We are utterly determined to fund this new bus because of stories like Bunty’s…
Bunty, one of the children from our Child Sponsorship programme travelled on the school bus each day and worked so hard at her studies. When Bunty left school, she was offered a place at college to study accountancy and managed to score the highest marks in her exams in the region!
To ensure we keep helping children like Bunty for many years to come we need your help.
We want to raise £15,000 towards the cost of the bus, the maintenance and diesel, tax and registration plus the driver’s salary for a minimum of 1 year.
WILL YOU RIDE THE SCHOOL BUS WITH US?
What does it mean to ride the school bus?
It means that you will be contributing towards the purchase of this new school bus and its running costs, helping a child gain access to an education.
Your name, or the name of a loved one (your choice!), will be put on a poster that will hang proudly in the bus for the children to see.
Pictured here: one of the children who rides the school bus each day!
THE STORY IN MORE DETAIL…
What happened after we funded the first bus?
The children loved being able to go to school. The school journey became one of the highlights of the day with singing of tribal songs and lots of laughter.
After buying that first bus, we went on to fund a fleet of 3 more buses with our supporters help. These buses take children from 6 villages up to 25 Kilometres deep inside the Tiger Reserve to 6 different schools. Over 400 children get to school safely each day. Click HERE to read about this inspiring programme.
We have already identified the bus we want to buy! One of our close supporters has a connection with one of India’s biggest producers of buses and lorries and has negotiated a good deal for us.
It’s a bright yellow, 40 seater, side loading bus!
The bus needs a committed driver who has a good rapport with the children. This is a vital role in keeping the children safe and happy. Some of the children are very young, heading off to school for the first time and need a friendly face. The journey is often very loud with lots of singing of tribal songs and laughter. When the children see wild life as they are being driven along, they ask the driver to slow down to take a closer look. The drivers also understand that the children need to let off steam at the end of a busy school day. Drivers need a salary to support their families and we want to cover this cost for a minimum of one year.
Meet one of the school bus drivers...
Mohan has been driving the children to and from school for the last four years and the children love him! They call him Thatha, which means grandfather!
Pictured here: Mohan proudly standing by the bus he has driven for the last 4 years
There is no point in having a shiny new bus, if it can’t go anywhere! We want to ensure the cost of the diesel is covered for minimum of one year.
Registration, tax and maintenance…
In India every state has different rules around this area. The state of Tamil Nadu is very strict about the correct registration of every vehicle. Commercial vehicles like the school bus are subject to tax and all maintenance to make the bus roadworthy has to be signed off by an approved mechanic. Again, we want to ensure the costs are covered for a minimum of one year. We will also put aside funds to cover any essential repairs/breakdowns and going forward, we will start a fund that will help us cover the bus running costs beyond 2019.
The importance of the bus…
All children have a right to an education and our campaign will ensure this right is met. The bright yellow bus will take up to 40 children to and from school each day. If this bus didn’t travel to the village it would be almost impossible for these children to receive an education. They have the same dreams as other children. They have aspirations to be forest workers, doctors, nurses, teachers and some don’t know what they want to be yet and that is just fine!
Watch the children on the bus singing tribal songs
It’s never that simple….
It isn’t always as simple as the bus turning up to the village and all the children are lined up neat and tidy, ready to board! The teachers who work in the village tuition centres know the families well and help gather the children in the mornings to be ready for the bus. They help them put on their shoes if necessary, have their school bag and anything else that is needed to support each child to stay in school.
Pictured here: One of the tuition centre teachers who helps the children board the bus each morning
Adventure Ashram is incredibly proud to help fund the work of Solomon and his team of 7 who work day in and day out to help the children, making sure they are staying ‘on track’.
We were thrilled to learn that recently the Indian Government has begun to send a school bus to one of the villages we were covering. This is very good news and means that we can now send the new school bus to take children to school from a new village – Kurumbarpallam, which is deep within the Tiger Reserve and very remote. A new group of children will have access to an education!
Please help us reach our target of £15,000 and it will happen!
Frequently Asked Questions
When will the money be taken out of my account?
Crowdfunder has updated their policy and the money you pledge to our cause will now be immediately withdrawn from your account.
How can I get a receipt for my pledge?
A thank you will be sent to you during the first week of July once the campaign has ended. An official receipt will be sent to you mid-August, as we will be running a skeleton staff during the month of July.
How much of my donation will go to the cause
As a professional organisation Adventure Ashram is investing a great deal of staff time and resources into running our campaigns. We are, therefore, channelling 10% of the funds raised through this crowdfunding campaign into covering just a small part of the time and expenses invested in it.
The Crowdfunder platform fees and card fees total 8% of the funds raised, so 82% of your donation will be spent on the items listed on the appeal as well as creating a repairs fund and future funding investment for sustaining the bus beyond 2019.
If you would like to learn more about how we will channel the funds raised please do not hesitate to contact us at: Margaret@adventureashram.org
How can I get more involved with this project?
You can find out more about our Child Sponsorship Programme and our work with Grace Charitable Trust HERE.