In 2019, a dream was brought to life when ground broke for the Living Tree Discovery School on the Suzuki Samuel India Hope Campus. Staff watched as long held plans came to fruition and blueprints became brick and mortar. They were excited for a day when children would no longer leave campus for government schools, but remain and attend a trauma-informed school with the best educational practices.
Weather delays and the COVID outbreak prolonged the construction and opening date, but as of June, 2022, The Living Tree Discovery School is now home to 208 students from three-years old to 10th grade!
The school is now an educational home to every child who lives on campus, and also to those from three neighboring villages. “We are excited for what this will mean for the younger children who will be under Back2Back’s educational care for the entirety of their school careers,” shared Julie Mowery, Back2Back US Director for India. “We want to make as much of a difference as possible, and the longer we can teach them, the more possible that will be.”
An all-national teaching staff has been fully trained in Trauma Competent classrooms, which will allow them to better serve each child and their unique tendencies and behaviors. Many of the village children came with no previous English knowledge, but teachers were prepared to teach them English, as it is an essential piece in finding gainful employment as young adults. School officially started June 13th, and staff already see significant progress in classroom behaviors!
The school’s principal, Sumalatha, spends her days in the classrooms, observing her staff as well as the improvements each child is making. She, too, went through trauma competent classroom training, and after created a teacher’s handbook with trauma principles throughout.
“We are excited for all the ways this school will benefit the students,” shared Julie. “Classroom ratios are significantly smaller than what’s generally found in government classrooms, and we are expanding Back2Back’s reach and depth by bussing children in from surrounding villages.”
Please join Back2Back in prayer as the school year is underway. Pray for children to fully understand they are known and loved and that they will come to realize a solid education is their right, not a luxury. Please pray for the teachers who tirelessly work to provide good care and education, as well, and join us in celebration for what this will mean for families all across rural India.