India's Best School - Ratnavati School In Rajasthan

Hello, friends! In terms of historical architecture, I consider Rajasthan to be the most beautiful state of India. Here, you can find forts, palaces and mansions each more grand and beautiful than the last. This state is also rich culturally. The folk dance and folk music here and the Rajasthani cuisine, they're all unparalleled. As well as the lakes, desert, camel safari. So it's not surprising that Rajasthan is a very popular tourist destination for foreigners. But behind this facade of beauty, lies a harsh truth. Friends, Rajasthan is the worst state in the country in terms of female literacy. Only 57% of the females in the entire state are literate. They can read and write. Do you know the name of the country we're living in? Country, as in? Do you know which country we live in? Which country do we live in? 

Rajasthan. Because of female illiteracy, female unemployment is also very high. According to a study, 73% of women in Rajasthan are jobless. Do you teach this to your children? So you teach it to your daughter.  You don't teach it to your son. Why? Because my daughter will have to do these chores. Many people hide this bitter truth with a veil. And look the other way. But there are some brave people who try to bring about a change. In Rajasthan's Jaisalmer, one such change was successfully introduced. Come, the Gem of India is not an individual. 

It is a school building. About 40 km from the city of Jaisalmer, there is a popular tourist spot known as Sam Sand Dunes. A few kilometres before this Sam desert, there is a village. This new school is built near this village. What's special about the school is that not only is it a completely free school, to educate girls from below the poverty line, but the building of this school is also an architecture marvel. Look at this building. Look, at how beautiful it is. It is built in a futuristic-modern style. The building also looks minimalistic. Additionally, the traditional architecture of Rajasthan has also been used in it. To top it all, this is a sustainable building. There are solar panels on the roof of this building. There are no ACs inside. Instead, traditional architecture is used in the building in such a way that the stones used to build it, will keep it cool from the inside. And the design of this building, will help to cool down the interiors. Who built this school? And how? .

There's a non-profit organisation, CITTA. Its founder is Michael Daube. He had a dream to build a school like this. So really it's kind of, it didn't happen like an epiphany, but it did mould like a chess game. It was kind of like realising 'in the next 20 moves, what's gonna happen?' and really kinda mapping out the ripple effects of this. Talking about implementing dreams, the supervisor of this project is Chahat Jain. When our reporter Vijeta Dahiya was on site to film this school, the school hadn't opened up then. At least, hadn't completely opened up. Teachers were being recruited. For Class 1 through Class 10th. The plan is, there will be 40 girls in each class, in total, 40 x 10 400 girls would be given free education in this school. Everything will be free. Their transport facility. The transport from their homes to the school and back will be free. Their education. Their books and uniforms will be free. They would also get free lunch at school. About the curriculum of the school, Chahat has experience in handling several such projects. 

So, keeping holistic development in the forefront, he has designed a curriculum for the girls. Things like the local textile, singing, dance forms we included these in the curriculum so that the children can be proud of their heritage and the slowly fizzling out artforms can be protected and revived. It will be a holistic development of the child. It also includes computer skills, third languages that a child should normally know. To fulfill this dream, Michael had local support as well. Like, the support of Chaitanya Raj Singh Bhati who belongs to the erstwhile Royal family of Jaisalmer. And his mother, Mrs Raseshwari Rajya Laxmi was also on the Board of Directors of the CITTA India. Another member of the Board of Directors is Manvendra Singh Shekhawat. He is a hotelier. And a co-founder of the NGO I Love Jaisalmer.

 It was Manvendra who had contributed the land to build this school. While doing so, he had put forth a condition to the architect, that two berry bushes that were there, should not be harmed. They shouldn't be removed. And the school should be built around them. Now at the centre of the school, those two berry bushes are proudly thriving. The architect used lime for the walls of the school. And the ceiling has been raised quite a bit. And windows at placed near the top. All these things improve air circulation. And the temperature remains cool inside. Not only solar panels are installed on the roof for generating electricity, but there is also a rainwater harvesting system in this building. It is a wholesome package of Sustainability and Eco-friendliness. The architect of this building is Diana Kellogg. And impressively, she didn't charge anything for designing this building. Same with the costume designer.

 The costume designer that designed the uniforms for the girls, did not charge for this. To design the uniforms, what he did was that he went in and found local textiles like Ajrakh. Then it's an age-old It's one of the oldest block printing techniques in the world, and most complex. It's one thing to design a building. But to actually build it with the design is the biggest challenge. And many local contractors refused to work on it. Because they looked at this complicated design and it was unlike anything they had ever done before so they decided to not do it. After a long search they found one contractor. Karim Khan. He implemented this plan and made it possible in real life. He helped in its building. This place is in the middle of a desert. There's nothing around. It took us 2 years to build this. We used to work here even at 50°C temperatures. We had to carry food and water with us. One couldn't find anything for miles here. This was a challenge for us. How could the girls study in those conditions? That's why we build this school. So Diana and Karim Khan coordinated and local labourers were employed for this project and finally, this building was completed within one year. Once the school was built, Parag Ji takes care of the security of the school. And Raju Ji and Mange Khan see to the cleanliness of the school. From Michael to Raju this is the entire team that is enabling this dream to come true. After the school was ready their team carried out publicity of the school in the nearby villages.

 And the Chief of the nearby village also joined the CITTA team. We conducted a small event on behalf of the school, on behalf of the school's management on behalf of Mr Shekhawat and the other members of the Board. Distributing ice cream among kids, that was really successful. Then we had another event on Republic Day, Many villagers attended that, adults as well as kids, We had a magic show there. The magic show was a huge success. It was great, all of us enjoyed it. 

How can someone sleep on a cloud? To make this whole project possible the money came through charitable donations. As I said, this is an NGO. You too can donate to it if you want to. They claim that all contributions are used for the education of the girls. The link to donate will be in the description below, in case you're interested. We're giving free education to the girls. They'll get food and a uniform as well. The medium of instruction will be English. Teachers will come from Jaisalmer. The kids will be picked up and dropped off at home. That's about the school. Now we want that the women in the neighbourhood of our students, like you their mother or their elder sister, we want to do something for them as well. Two more buildings are being built like the school building In it, we will provide training to women. Like what your mother-in-law was working on. 

You will get to learn something new. And we'll even pay you for learning. Since you'll work hard to learn. So we intend to support the women and girls around here. The most exciting thing is that, friends, while only one building has been built by now, but in reality, this entire project, called the Gyaan Centre, three buildings will be built in total. The two other buildings are yet to be built. Here, in the computer animation, you can see how the other two buildings will look. In one of the buildings, there will be a Women's Cooperative.