The Sri Sai Prasanthi School in Puttaparthi, India was co-founded by Derek O’Neill along with current co-ordinators Gaia Star and Victor Baba.
The mission of Sri Sai Prasanthi school is to provide free education, books and food for underprivileged children and their families within a sustainable environment. The goal is to create a community where the children feel valued and supported, and to develop character as well as provide education.
The school currently caters to 220 children aged between 6 and 13. In addition to their educational needs, the children are given one good meal each day and they are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities that include dancing, swimming and other sports. Parents are encouraged to get involved by supporting the school activities in whatever way they can, and are considered to be an integral part of the school network.
The school operates with an eco-friendly approach, utilizing solar power for water purification and water heating, and rain water is gathered and used for toilets, washing and gardening.
SQ foundation continues to fund medical equipment and personnel to provide eye tests and blood group tests for the children. In addition to relying on charitable funding, the school has a plan to grow Moringa trees (also known as Miracle trees) on the land and generate income from the ‘fruits’ of the trees.
Since purchasing the current site in 2009, building work on the school has been ongoing, and this has significantly increased capacity. Expansion work continues with the recent formation of a new playground and there are plans to increase their educational facilities next year.
The longer-term aspirations for the school are to:
- create the infrastructure to provide room for an additional 85 school children
- take children up to 15 yrs old
- provide night classes to offer manual skills training in addition to the day to day academic opportunities.