October 3, 2012
It Takes a Village: Lessons in Rural Empowerment
Through the Chaminade Rural Development Project, the Marianists are helping a tribal group in rural India create a healthy future.
By Jan D. Dixon
Every weekday morning, Jyoti Soy, a third-grade teacher, catches a ride from her home on the outskirts of Ranchi — a city in north central India — to the village of Binda. It is a jarring commute along narrow country roads that takes more than an hour. While most people leave their village in India for work in the city, Jyoti is willing to make the trek back to her home village for two reasons: She loves teaching and since the Marianists took charge of the Roro Binda Upper Primary School where she works, she has witnessed an enormous change.
“Since the Marianists arrived, we have more teachers, many more students, better equipment and a brand-new school,” she says. When Jyoti started teaching in 1992, there were 20 students. By the time the Marianists took over in 2007, the student body had dwindled to seven. Today, the school boasts an enrollment of 350 children in grades one through five and will add a middle school next year. In 2010, the Marianists completed construction of a new school and a residence hall for students who live too far to commute.