Nirvana School provides nursery, primary and high school education to children aged 3 to 15 years old. The curriculum follows the Tamil Nadu State Board syllabus for all levels. It is an English Medium school so apart from Tamil language class, all subjects are taught in English. In addition to providing education for the local children, the school also gets involved in community work to assist local residents and other schools whenever possible.
Nirvana Trust was launched by Mrs. Vinodini Samani in 1994 after the sudden death of her husband Mr. Pravin Samani. The couple had settled in Kottukupam, near Pondicherry, South India in 1987 after having lived in the UK for 26 years. They began tutoring local children in front of their home and hoped to open a school to give under-privileged children a high standard of education, regardless of their financial situation.
Nirvana School was formally opened in December 1995 by Mrs. Samani, fulfilling the vision she shared with her late husband. She runs the school on a purely voluntary basis, and does not take a salary or any other payment for her efforts.
The school started with only 7 children in 1995 and by 2003, had grown substantially after the completion of an extension. Currently the school has an attendance of 380 students, aged 3 to 15. Classes are taught from pre-kindergarten to 10th standard with the subjects of English, Tamil, Maths, Science, Social Studies, Art and Sports.
Thanks to the generous support of people all over the world, Nirvana School has been able to provide nursery, primary and high school education to over 1500 students since 1995.
To give underprivileged children from the local community the opportunity of almost free education in a privately run school offering a high standard of education and personal development.
For our students
- To provide a high standard of education for local children from nursery school to high school
- To follow a Government-approved state board curriculum, emphasizing English in all subjects to enable the children to communicate globally
- To charge only a monthly fee so as to enable the poorest children to attend the school, without having the parents depend on charity
- To provide educational assistance and financial support to top students to continue onto higher education
- To organize evening coaching classes for children
- To encourage young students from around the world to actively participate in the education of Nirvana School children
- To provide basic evening computer classes with certification free of charge
For our teachers
- To provide employment opportunities with a good salary for quality teachers and nursery assistants
- To provide a unique opportunity for volunteer students and teachers from around the world to exchange experiences
- To give Nirvana School teachers the opportunity to communicate with people from different countries and cultures
For our community
- To distribute basic foodstuffs such as rice, sugar, oil, bread and other supplies to the poorest families in the area
- To assist with donations to nearby orphanages and homes for the aged
- To hold free eye clinics and finance eye operations for local residents when needed
- To help local cow owners by supplying special high protein food for the cows which helps in better milk production
- To help local villagers in any way possible during the rainy season and in emergency situations such as flood and fire
- To provide jobs to labour workers
- To help upgrade living standards for the local people
The Structure of Our School
The majority of the children that attend the school are from Kottakuppam – a large town that houses many smaller villages, with a few students from Pondicherry. Most of the parents in the community are uneducated and the men are usually fishermen, labourers and stone-masons. The majority of the population is Hindu with some Muslim families, and the main language is Tamil.
Most of the children that live in this area wouldn’t be able to enter into other government schools due to over-crowding. And if they did, they wouldn’t get the same standard of English education or the same level of attention they receive at Nirvana.
The nursery school is where it all starts, teaching Pre-kindergarten to Upper Kindergarten to children aged 2 and a half to 4 years old. The nursery school classes focus on activity-based education.
Primary school includes standards 1 to 5 for children aged 5 to 11 years old. Children are taught the main subjects plus extra-curricular activities such as computers, visual arts and library reading.
The High school offers standards 6 to 10 to children aged 12 to 14 years old. The main subjects are: Tamil, English, Maths, Science, Social Sciences (History, Geography and Politics) and extra-curricular activities such as computers, visual arts and library reading.
The School Day and Classes
A Typical Day
The Nirvana kids arrive at school by 8:30am every day. The school provides a free school-bus to pick up and drop off children living within a 5 km radius. Some children share a rickshaw ride into school, others get dropped off by their parents on their scooters and some walk or cycle into school.
Each day starts with morning assembly at 9am in the front courtyard. During the assembly, the children pledge the national anthem, say their prayers, exercise, get the day’s news, practice English conversation skills and welcome guests, if any. On Mondays, there’s also a flag-raising ceremony during the assembly.
After the morning assembly, the children split up into their classes until 12:30pm when they break for a 1-hour lunch. They bring their own lunches, but the school provides milk and biscuits during morning and afternoon recess periods. After lunch, it’s on to more classes until 3:45pm when the school day ends. After that, some of the children go on to after-school activities.
After School Classes
Some examples include:
- Tabla (Indian drum)
- Visual Arts
- Classical Dance
- Marching Band (Performs at special events such as Annual Day)
- 15-minute meditation (twice a week)
Once a year, the school holds special activities such as Yoga and Vipassana meditation for the children. The school also takes the kids on educational tours.
Every February, the kids participate in Sports Day where they compete in various activities such as three-legged races, bean bag races, musical chairs, dodge-ball and more.
Every March, the school holds an Annual Day celebration where the children get to dress up and perform various cultural and musical items on stage. All parents are invited and prizes are awarded to the children for academic achievement and best behaviour.
This is celebrated annually on November 14th which is Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday. The kids engage in academic competitions where they have drawing and writing contests, and more.
This is an annual event celebrated on September 5th which is Dr. Radhakrishan’s birthday. He was the first president of the country and a former teacher. During this event, Nirvana kids hold a cultural show and fun activities for teachers. Recognition awards are also given to the teachers at the event. Gifts are organized by management for teachers.
On August 15th, Nirvana kids celebrate Independence Day with cultural activities and various competitions in writing, drawing, speeches and more.
This event is on January 26 and children engage in cultural activities and various academic competitions.
Parent’s and Teacher’s Meeting
The school holds one annual meeting and two open-houses during the year.
An annual get-together at the school for Nirvana mothers to socialize and talk about their children’s education. This also provides the staff with an opportunity to get to know the mothers better.
Meganathan is an above average student in the 6th standard. He’s been studyng at Nirvana since Kingergarten. His father is a labourer, his mother is a housewife and he has two younger brothers. His ambition is to become an engineer and help his family. His favourite subject is Science and his favourite game is Cricket. He really loves Nirvana School for having friendly teachers and a great Computer Lab to access.
Divya is a very confident 4th standard student who is brilliant at her studies. Her father is a cobbler and her mother is a housewife that also helps her father make shoes. Divya’s ambition is to become an I.A.S. officer where she can help others in need – something she is passionate about. She is at the top of her class, achieving 1st position in all her recent term examinations. When she isn’t studying, her favourite game to play is Dodgeball.
Elumalai has been with Nirvana School since its inception. He was one of the first students Mrs. Samani started tutoring outside her home at the age of six, and he’s been part of the school ever since.
Mrs. Samani took Elumalai under her wing and coached him over the years. After completing school at Nirvana, he went on to complete a Bachelor in Physics at the University of Madras. After he finished his degree, he started working at Nirvana School as an Administrator. While working there, Mrs. Samani encouraged him to study further and Nirvana Trust sponsored him to complete a Bachelor in Education at the Pondicherry University while working at the school part-time. .
Today Elumalai plays a big role as the Nirvana School Manager. Some of his duties include:
- Annual planning
- Teaching English and Physical Training
- Managing the Adult Education Centre
- Meeting with parents and visitors
- Managing sponsorships
- Coordinating volunteers
In addition to his full-time job at Nirvana School, Elumalai runs his own part-time greeting cards company called Jenem Cards with two other former Nirvana students – Jeeva and Selvam. Nirvana Trust helped him set up the company and a portion of the profits are donated back to the school. He’s also studying part-time to complete a Masters in English at Annamalai University.
Through his hard work and savings, Elumalai has built a big house for him and his family close to the school and next door to Mrs. Samani.
Elumalai is a true Nirvana School success story. He is energetic, intelligent, hard-working, persevering and best of all – always smiling and ready to help a helping hand!
Laxmi is Elumalai’s sister’s daughter. She lost both of her parents at the age of three to different illnesses. She was then raised by her grandparents and also helped considerably by Mrs. Samani.
Nirvana School allowed her to enroll in the middle of the year when she lost her parents – something that other schools refused. She attended Nirvana until 8th standard and then went on to another school for higher studies.
Laxmi is now in the 12th standard and is going on to college in June where she will be supported by Nirvana Trust financially. She has been the second top student in her school since the 10th standard and is expected to finish the 12th standard as the top student.
She now lives with her mother’s younger sister and her family where she has cousins to grow up with.
Laxmi has done extremely well in her studies and we wish her great success at college!
Jeeva also started school with Elumalai in the first class outside Mrs. Samani’s home. He was Elumalai’s childhood friend and the one who introduced Elumalai to Mrs. Samani and the school when they were both six years old.
Jeeva studied until 12th standard at Nirvana but failed that year and decided to start working in a watch company. During the summer holidays, Elumalai was working at the school but Mrs. Samani encouraged him to also work part-time at a greeting cards company to gain some additional work experience.
While working at the cards company, Elumalai used to send work to a particular printer. That printer asked Elumalai if he would like to work for him full-time. As he was still in school, Elumalai decided to recommend Jeeva for the job instead.
So in 2001, Jeeva started working at that printer and thanks to his hard work and perseverance; he has now become the Chief Operator of the whole company.
Jeeva does all the printing for Nirvana School and plays an active role in Jenem cards. He’s also continuing his education part-time at the Nirvana Adult Education Centre and helps out at the school whenever needed. He’s also in the middle of building a new house for him and his family.
Support our students
£80 sponsors a child for an entire year. That's works out as less than 22p per day. You would be making a huge different to someone's life.
We'll send yearly updates to you from the child your money sponsors too.
If you have a question, or would like to arrange a visit, feel free to get in touch.
Nirvana High School, Nadukuppam Road, Kottakuppam, Vanur Taluk, Tamil Nadu, 605 104, India
00 91 413 223 6108
00 91 413 223 6670
SPONSORSHIP & DONATIONS
To sponsor a child, make a donation or to find out more about these areas, please email Mrs.Samani at email@example.com.