Information

Learning Together in Andhra Pradesh ~ FY2019 Activity Report (3) GRETNATLES (India)

 

Students at work GRETNATLES

In Andhra Pradesh, a state in southwest India, there are 57 colonies where people affected by leprosy and their families live in socially and economically deprived circumstances.

In 1981, a man who had faced tremendous hardships as a result of leprosy, established a treatment center for persons affected by the disease. Twenty-two years later, in 2003, a school was established on the same site where children from affected families can study alongside other children and received a free education. This was to address the situation whereby children from affected families were not being given equal educational opportunities. The organization running this facility is GRETNALTES (Greater Tenali Leprosy Treatment and Education Scheme Society).

There are currently 1,089 students from infants to middle-schoolers studying at the school. Of these, 94 are children from affected families and they live in dormitories in order to attend class as the colonies they come from are far away. From 2019, Sasakawa Health Foundation began covering the boarding expenses of these children as a way of supporting their education.

While there are many cases of children from affected families who drop out of school because of poverty or discrimination, all 94 children supported by SHF attend school without fail. We have heard from many of the students who said they had given up on going to school, but thanks to this support they are now able to do so and are happy to live in the dormitory.

As a way to end the discrimination associated with leprosy, it is very effective to have children from affected and non-affected families study together. In addition, we can hope that issues of poverty that colonies face will be resolved if children from families there receive a proper education and grow up able to support themselves. We anticipate these children will play an active role in society and hasten the day when there is no more discrimination associated with leprosy. We look forward to continuing our support for their education.

 

Letters from the Students

G. Usha (7th Grade)

My native place is Ambedkar Leprosy Colony, Nalgonda, Nalgonda Dist. My grand parents are also living with us. So, ours is joint family.

Our entire family is dependant on the income of my father. His income is not sufficient for the feeding of our family. My father is very much anxious to provide education to me as I am the only child. He has been struggling hard with his little income to provide good education, food and all facilities. He is an ice cream vendor. Even though he earned little, he desires to provide me good education. But my father does not like to join us small schools in the village, because there I did not get proper care.

We knew about GRETNALTES school and its Leprosy services to the Leprosy effected people. As me Grand father was Leprosy patient. We went to the school and met the Director for admission to get free education. The management is kind enough to look into my family condition and allow me to join. I have been achieving good results in my academics. Now I am in 7th standard. English is my favourit subject and my life ambition is to become a Lawyer.

 

Shaik Kheja Mynoddin (9th Grade)

I am the native of Prabhodaya Leprosy colony, Ananthapur.

My Grand Mother is leprosy affected person. I have two Sisters.I Studied previously in my native village. Due to poverty my parents were unable to meet the expenditure of my school fee ,cost of books and maintanenance. As a result I lost my interest on my studies. I was even afraid of going school. In Circumstances my parents wanted to discontinue my studies. At that time my parents knew about GRETNALTES and joined me in this school.

Now I am studying 9th Class. While I was studying I was always dull. But after joining the High school of GRETNALTES our character is influenced by the kind treatment and because feeling well protection under his management . Everything Education, Books, Food, Hostel facility etc are totally free. Now I am very happy. In every subject and class I got first rank. Mathematics is my favourite subject. I want to become a Bussiness man.