sumavanam Village School

T. M. Narasimhan
Sumavanam Village School,
Cheegalabailu, Madanapalli,
Chittoor District.
Andhra Pradesh - 517 325

T. M. Narasimhan, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur, former scientist at National Aerospace Laboratory, Bangalore, Karnataka, is the Managing Trustee of Neel Bagh Trust since 1987 and the cofounder of Sumavanam.

In a communication to Taleemnet, he talks about the trust and his school. 

David Horsburgh started a trust called Neelbagh trust of which I am now the managing trustee. The trust supports two schools. Vikasana run by M.C. Malathi, near Bangalore and Sumavanam run by Usha and myself.

Sumavanam School was started in 1982 by Usha and me. It is about 120 km from Bangalore and about 10 km east of Neelbagh. It is near a town called Madanapalle in Chittoor district. It is surrounded by hills and has about 10 villages around it. The school is meant for the quality education of the economically weaker sections of these villages.

The school at present has 20 children of age group 6 to 15 years. The children are divided into three groups based on their abilities and 3 teachers handle the classes. The children are mostly from families whose parents are marginal farmers with an average monthly income of about Rs. 1500/- per month.

The school has been trying to educate such children till the 10th grade and then try and help them do their degree in a local college. Two of the children who had studied in this school are helping as teachers now.

The children come to school at 8 a.m. till 9 a.m. they are busy cleaning their classes and surroundings. From 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. they have a singing class in which they sing children’s songs of different languages. This is followed by a math class. All the children sit in the same classroom and do the work based on their abilities. This is followed by a break of 30 minutes. During this time children are given an egg each. After the break they have an hour of English followed by handicrafts in which children do various things like painting, collages, paper folding, needle work etc. After a break of an hour during which children take their lunch brought form home. After which they have Telgu and social science classes. They play for an hour and go home. The senior boys of 7th, 8th and 9th grades stay back for about 2 hours to work on their assignments.

The school does not encourage competition among children. The stress is on self learning. there are no standards no rewards and no exams except the state board exam at 7th and 10th grade. The stress is on co-operation, quality and joy in learning

The children are taken out once in about 6 months on school excursions. They also involve in tree planting and taking care of trees.

The children have created beautiful things in the craft classes and have shown great interest in studies despite coming from very poor families with very little food, no clothing and no encouragement from their families. The children who had studied and who have left have been quite responsible and are taking care of their families.