MondoChallenge Foundation

Improving Education in Darjeeling district of India

Some of these villages at the foothills of the Himalayas are the most remote in India, where children often have to walk several miles each day to school. With few state schools and local schools that have to charge (although as little as £2.20 per month), many local children are therefore unable to attend. We are helping by providing new schools, teacher training, sponsorship of pupils and schools, all backed by MondoChallenge volunteers.

history Campaign has now closed

It ran from 9:46 AM, 28 November 2008 to 9:46 AM, 28 November 2008

Registered Charity in England and Wales (1106237)




  • Disaster ReliefDisaster Relief
  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief
  • OtherOther


  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)



In India, English is crucial for entrance into secondary school. In rural areas of the country, access to trained teachers, essential materials and fluent English speakers is far more limited than in urban areas. MondoChallenge Foundation funds projects in the rural villages of the Himalayan foothills. Local village schools have to charge as little as £2.20 per month, but this fee is beyond the reach of many families and their children are therefore unable to attend. In our experience, money alone is not effective in combating these issues. Money cannot overcome shortages of skilled local people and many organisations working in these areas exercise poor management and bad working practices, which mean the monies that are channelled into these areas are not used effectively. We also believe that small grants, well managed, can make better long term sense than large funding programmes that often have substantial overheads. However, whilst sending volunteers to these areas can make an enormous difference, it doesn’t solve infrastructure problems or compensate for a lack of resources. MondoChallenge has therefore developed a twin-pronged approach of providing both financial support and volunteers to these local communities. MondoChallenge places English speaking volunteers in rural schools in the Darjeeling district of north east India. Many of these volunteers have teaching experience and all of them support local teachers by acting as a classroom resource or supply teacher when needed and suggesting new teaching ideas and techniques. Each volunteer also functions as an on-the-ground contact for the Foundation by overseeing grants awarded and identifying new needs for funding. As the volunteers pay for their own placements, they are a hugely cost effective resource and as volunteers leave, new ones replace them with fresh ideas and equally valuable input. As well as hands-on support from the volunteers, MondoChallenge Foundation provides financial support to assist schools and pupils in the following ways: Educational Grants Scheme. We currently work with 8 schools in the district and the Foundation supports 4 of these by offering an Educational Grants Scheme which covers 50% of each child’s school fees. In some schools this has increased enrolment by up to 50% and has decreased staff attrition. This year we plan to work with 10 schools in the district and would like to offer this Scheme to all 800 pupils. Budget - £10,560 Annual Schools Grant Scheme. For each of the 10 new schools we would like to give an annual grant of £150, which would be used to purchase basic equipment such as books and stationery, as well as to host student events and educational trips. We also fund a Teacher Trainer, a local retired teacher who trains each new school teacher, sets up local Parent/Teacher Associations and educates staff about appropriate discipline techniques. They also induct each new MondoChallenge volunteer, outlining the school’s objectives and ensuring their teaching methods are both appropriate and culturally sensitive. In addition, we support the 6 of the schools in delivering agricultural projects which teach pupils about growing nutritional crops and other skills which will enable them and their family to live self sufficiently. Budget - £8,380 Schools Building Project. In the village of Kashyem the local school is a cramped, old, wooden building perched on the side of a hill. The classroom is overcrowded – with children sitting 4 or 5 to a desk – classroom equipment is old and the building itself is simply no longer fit for purpose. This year we plan to rebuild this school to provide a better learning environment for at least 60 local children. Budget £6,000