DHARAVI SCHOOL
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir Dharavi, Mumbai, India


The current school was inaugurated in August 2007. It operates under the aegis of the Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir (SSRVM) Trust which runs 65 schools in the country.

Through the persistence, grit, determination and superb negotiation skills of Suresh and the generous contribution of thousands of well wishers, we acquired 10 sheds that were scrubbed and cleaned and powered and polished into our brand new class rooms!

The new school has 340 bubbling students, 20 full time teachers and half a dozen volunteers. The syllabus is modelled upon the SSC course. We were fortunate to design it under the guidance of Dr. Coomi Vevaina, an Art of Living volunteer and Reader at the Mumbai University Department of English. Currently the school runs from nursery until the 9th grade.

“My son Rahul has become more social, his speech has improved. The school recognised his difficulties and worked around them. He has passed in all subjects! My elder son is not so happy in his school as he is humiliated and I want to shift him to this school.”

-- Mrs. Takke, Parent and Aiyah (Maid)
Highlights of the school include:
  • A Winning Approach: Before we educate our students, we educate our teachers—to see themselves as facilitators. And to see every child as a winner. While helping children with any weaknesses they may have observed, teachers are also encouraged to highlight the positives, and emphasise the expression of each child’s individual talents.

  • Competitive Skills: We have introduced computer literacy to 6 year olds. Chess shall also be taught. We use economical audio visual aids and encourage field trips! It is our intention that the children receive the same exposure available to children with far greater means.

  • Extra Curricular Activities: From the outset the school has introduced sports, dance and music. The emphasis is on participation and personal development and not just competition. Please read Radha’s story.

  • Value Based Education: Maths, Science, English, Hindi, alongside friendship, caring, respect and love. The school is a haven to foster human values among the little ones.

  • Counselling: Students often come from broken homes, where alcoholism, domestic violence and abuse may be common occurrences. We have, therefore, involved two qualified counsellors to volunteer their time with the children as and when needed.

  • Attention to Special Needs: Drawing upon the service of Art of Living’s large volunteer base, the school offers extra weekend classes to cater to the special learning needs of every student. Please read Rahul’s Story.

  • Free food and Stationery: All students receive milk and breakfast everyday along with free books and stationery from the school. Their nominal fee does not cover this expense. Parents pay Rs. 400 (USD 10) upon a child’s admission to the school and Rs. 250 (USD 6.25) per month thereafter. Only 60% of the students pay this: we do not enforce payment. The contribution is charged merely to ensure commitment.

  • Health Camps: As the physical environment the children grow up in tends to be particularly unhygienic the schools will be incorporating regular health camps as an added facility provided free of cost.

  • Mid day meals - DSP Merill Lynch: No food, no focus. After six months of operation at the new venue, the teachers observed that quite a few under nourished children were unable to concentrate. Thanks to support from DSP Merrill Lynch we now provide lunch at school. Incredibly, this has attracted new parents to enrol their children!
To view pictures of our happy times together in school, please visit the Gallery!
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