The prejudice and stigma of leprosy continues. The children of parents afflicted by leprosy are barred from attending school even though they are healthy. In 1983, Father Marian built a school for them: a straw-thatched hut with a dirt floor. This humble beginning has now grown into a school that has a reputation of being one of the best schools in the area with high academic standards and rich extracurricular programs such as traditional dance and music, hatha yoga, computer skills, and tae kwan do. Each child receives a uniform, play clothes, daily meals, school supplies, and regular medical care, all free of charge. Their education allows them to pursue productive vocations and start their own families––ending the cycle of hopelessness and poverty.
Today, the school accommodates students from kindergarten–7th grade, with a total student body exceeding 600. More than 300 students come from families outside of the leper community who formerly feared contact with the children of the afflicted. The Beatrix School, begun because of segregation, has truly become a center of integration.
Because it is run as a private school, it has the freedom to incorporate spirituality and human values into the standard academic curriculum. It operates solely on donations. Each donation sustains this work and helps to uplift the community one child at a time.
Thank you for your support in making such a difference in the lives of many children and their families. Shantipuri Friends Foundation is a 501(C)3 organization and your donations are fully tax-deductible.