The Senpur Primary School in Ambedkar Nagar, Uttar Pradesh, has some 63 students and four teachers. Located in a tiny village, the facilities would not necessarily inspire children to come to school every single day. Happily though, that is not the case in this small school. It boasts of cheerful and committed students and teachers who work together to make learning safe and fun.

Senpur Primary was not always the pride of Ambedkar Nagar. A while ago, toilet facilities for students were sorely lacking. Girls especially did not regularly attend class due to poor hygiene conditions. The school had no safe drinking water or adequate grounds for the children to exercise. Worse still, open defecation was also practiced around the school. These untenable conditions led to a grave increase in the school’s dropout rate over time. Both school and students had all but given up hope, that is, until a visit by Plan India’s staff.

Upon learning of the lack of facilities at the school, Senpur Primary was selected to be part of the Support My School (SMS) project implemented by Plan India supported by Coca-Cola and NDTV. As part of the project, a strategic plan was laid out in consultation with the School Management Committee (SMC), school authorities and students. Shortly after, separate toilets were built for girls and boys, safe drinking water was made available and sports facilities were also provided for. Students were oriented on environment-friendly practices like tree plantation and rain water harvesting as well. Upon the complete and very welcome renovation of the school, its maintenance was handed over to the school authorities.

Since the SMS project, a number of positive changes have been seen at Senpur Primary. Among other things, the number of children enrolled in Class I increased from 58 to the current 63 and retention went up from 51% to 80%. Now, animated and packed SMC meetings take place at the school on a regular basis, the teachers are confident and most importantly, the children enjoy coming to school to study and play with their friends.

The Support My School project contributes to the lives of vulnerable children across the country, providing them holistic, quality education and the facilities to thrive.