Bill Scott's blog

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Daughters of Destiny

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I've been watching Daughters of Destiny, a four-part documentary about the Shanti Bhavan school in India’s Tamil Nadu which was founded by Abraham George, an Indian business man who made his $zillions in the USA.  I did this with the sustainable development goals in mind.

Shanti Havana is a Bangalore free school for low caste children.  One child per family is selected to go to the school as a boarder at age four and is then educated and supported for 17 years up to their first day of work.  The point of all this is not to rescue one child from a terrible future, but for them to go on to create positive change for their families and communities by getting the sort of job that are normally out of range, especially given the shameful education which they traditionally receive.  This is a fine goal but a heavy burden for them to carry.

It is directed by Vanessa Roth, who lets children, staff and parents speak for themselves.  As a result, Daughters of Destiny mostly lets you think for yourself about what you are seeing.  Some will no doubt deplore this plucking of children out of the warm bosom of the family, and some may regret the selection that is involved.  Others will think it a shame that it's a private school with the ever-benevolent, enlightened guiding hand of the Indian State nowhere in sight, and some will deplore experimenting with children in this way.

I do none of this and think you'd be hard-hearted to let ideology trump the opportunity that's available to these children, families and communities. Shanti Bhavan school has been going now for 17 years, and is looking to expand.

As for the sustainable development goals, all this looked, prima facie, to be the sort of  'quality education' that we all go on about; as such, even UNESCO bureaucrats might approve.  Oddly, no one mentioned ESD.

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