UNITED SIKHS manages donations received from the community to fund a scholarship programme to provide premium education to bright and needy students.
Download the STARAE leaflet and donation form for your location below :
(Scholarships as a Tool to Accelerate and Revive Academic Excellence)
STARAE, a project run by UNITED SIKHS, aims to provide free premium education to underprivileged students in India, who otherwise cannot afford to receive good basic education. We do it in two ways – firstly, by providing scholarships and, secondly, by implementing a KHOJI curriculum in participating schools.
The STARAE project has given the gift of education to many people who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to go to school. The scholars are not the only ones to have benefited under STARAE. The scheme has also given the parents a chance to play a more active role in their childrens' learning. Before the project was started, a meeting of teachers, students, as well as parents was called in order to brief them on the scheme. Parents were also invited to a feedback visit. In the case of one girl, Rajwinder Kaur, initially her father did not see how his attending the briefing meeting would be beneficial. With the best interests of Rajwinder Kaur in mind, however, UNITED SIKHS insisted that he attend. He attended this meeting as well as the feedback meeting. He now takes a more active role in the education of his daughter which is positive for him as he enjoys playing this role, as well as being invaluable support for his daughter through these crucial years of her development. Rajwinder Kaur was a weak student but at the end of her first year in her new school, she scored an average of 95.4%, coming second in her class.
STARAE, which is funded by donations from around the world, was set up by UNITED SIKHS in 2004 as a scholarship project to give bright village school going children the opportunity to study in good schools. In this way, they would be provided with a study environment which would give them the maximum chances of working to their highest potential.
In the launch year, 2004, around 20 bright and needy students from villages in Panjab, were granted STARAE scholarships to study at private schools near their villages. Below you will find names of some participating schools:
- Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School, Amritsar
- Shaheed Darshan Singh Pheruman Public School, Rayya
- Standard Public High School School, Dhulka
- St. Soldier Day Boarding School, Jandialla Guru and
In 2009, SHS, a benevolent Sikh group from Australia, filmed a shocking documentary called ‘Slumgdog Sikhs;’ which showed how Sikhligar families lived in the Sultanpuri colony of New Delhi. This revelation propelled the STARAE project to progress from a project for rural students to a project also for students from poor ‘colonies’ in the urban sector. Hence, in 2010, with donations from Sikhs in Bangkok and the Bayan Baru Gurdwara sangat of Penang and individuals from Delhi, UNITED SIKHS sponsored 110 Sikhligar students at Sun Smile School, Sultanpuri, New Delhi. You may view Slumdog Sikhs at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM1s4CJ5-pQ
In the same year, SHS, requested UNITED SIKHS to take over their scholarship project for 100 students, sponsored by donors from the USA and Australia, at Sun Smile School, bringing the total number of students sponsored at this school under STARAE to 210.
From 2010, we aim to provide STARAE scholarships to children who come from farmer suicide families. You may read about our Rescue a Family project at www.unitedsikhs.org/makepovertyhistory
(Not just teaching – but learning)
The KHOJI curriculum simplifies the teaching and learning methods used in schools to ensure that children are more receptive and better able to understand. The focus is on the process of learning as much as on the teaching. In order for this to be effective, teachers are trained in the KHOJI methodology to ensure that they provide holistic learning, which will help weak students perform better and good students to become excellent. This, we believe, will revive the education standards of participating schools as a whole.
Our KHOJI consultant, Sardarni Harprakash Kaur, is a UK trained child psychologist and educationist with more than 40 years experience in teaching.
As a pilot, UNITED SIKHS launched the KHOJI curriculum at Sun Smile Public School in Sultanpuri, New Delhi, which is a private school run by the Surekha Educational and Development Society, recognised by the Delhi Administration. At present, there are 300 students in the school, at the nursery, LKG and UKG levels, divided into 10 sections of 30 children each.
Hitherto, UNITED SIKHS has sponsored the education of 210 Sikhligar students at the school, who belong to the economically weaker section of society. These students receive scholarships and are taught under UNITED SIKHS’ KHOJI curriculum, that, firstly, provides special techniques for teaching the school curriculum and, secondly, provides modules for value added education.
The STARAE project at Sun Smile School aims to develop the current facilities of the school and we have sponsored students who were previously not attending school at all. The teachers at Sun Smile School are being given specialist training on the KHOJI curriculum on how to accelerate the learning process in children. Alongside this, spiritual programmes for parents and children will be held at the local gurdwara to increase their knowledge of Gurbani and gurmat. This will fill the lacuna created by a complete absence of religious education at Sun Smile School. Since the mother tongue of 90% of the student population is Panjabi, which had not previously been taught at the school, arrangements are afoot with the Punjabi Academy of New Delhi, to teach Panjabi to the students and their parents, under the KHOJI curriculum.
Under the KHOJI curriculum, we teach English and maths, using our KHOJI teaching modules, which supplement the current teaching methods at the school. As their students are keen learners, we believe that we can make a meaningful contribution and give students and teachers additional learning tools through KHOJI.
Through KHOJI, some of the aims are:
- English is taught in English. In Panjab, particularly, English is often taught through the ‘Panjabi medium’
- Hindi or any other language is not used during an English class
- Individual attention is given to students.
- Every (yes every) student has an opportunity to participate during a class session
- Students learn the 3Rs (reading, writing and arithmetic) quickly
- Students receive a holistic education through the value added modules
- Students learn to teach themselves through self-searching
Students enjoy their classes because they discover the joy of learning by themselves
Value Added Modules Offered under the KHOJI Curriculum
- Teaching of a student’s mother tongue
- Promotion of Hobbies
- Film Clubs
- Environmental Studies
- Moral Studies
- Civic Studies
- Physical Education/Games and Sports
- Other Clubs and Societies
- Field trips
- We aim to provide STARAE scholarships to 5000 students by 2015; our target for 2010 is 500 students. In Aug 2010, we reached the half way mark for the year.
- We aim to implement the KHOJI curriculum in all schools where we provide STARAE scholarships.
- We aim to introduce the KHOJI curriculum to as many Sikh schools in India - mainstream schools that also teach Sikh studies.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
If you donate £20 or $30 a month, it will pay for the fees, books and uniforms for STARAE scholarships, as well meet the cost of implementing the KHOJI curriculum in a participating school.
- Start a monthly donation, of any amount, to help us carry on our STARAE work. You may donate online at www.unitedsikhs.org/donate
- Set up a recurring donation with your bank, using the form available on our STARAE fliers at www.unitedsikhs.org/starae
- Organize charity events
- Fundraise at your local place of worship or community centre
- Volunteer at the STARAE participating schools. Join UNITED SIKHS at www.unitedsikhs.org/join and receive details for an application form
- Donate by cheque - you may post your donation to the UNITED SIKHS office nearest to you. For details of our offices, please see www.unitedsikhs.org/contact
Click here for details of the STARAE project.