We are beyond excited to announce that our Snehalaya English Medium Schoolis a Top Three finalist in the World’s Best School Prizes for Overcoming Adversity. This exciting news was shared with Snehalaya’s school’s students, teachers and parents as well as dignitaries and children from the district’s schools, all of who were thrilled that an Ahmednagar school is considered one of the best in the world.
The announcement was made at a cultural event celebrating 14 years of our unique school. We invited many local schools to join with us and to send videos of their traditional performances before the event. Ten schools were selected to perform at the event, and these four winners were announced. Local school children had also been invited to an essay and drawing competition with subjects including the history of our city and nation and the recent Moon landing by India. The results were smart and creative and our judging panel had difficulty selecting six overall winners.
Also present to celebrate with us was Dr Sangita Barve, the 2022 winner of the Sahitya Akademi Children's Sahitya Award for the Marathi language with her novel Piuchi Wahi; Hon Narendraji Firodia, social entrepreneur who believes: “it`s not about great ideas, it`s about making ideas happen”; and Hon Anandji Kulkarni, Technical Leader of Omniva Inc, USA.
Our school was established to address the challenges that we faced when trying to gain admission for our childcare institution’s children in our city’s schools. Being named in the top three finalists is a huge achievement for our school and we are proud that we have been recognised for empowering our students and community, and breaking down the barriers of discrimination.
There are five categories with three schools in each category making the final. We are the only Maharashtrian school to have made the finals. The only other Indian school to reach the Top Three is Riverside school in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which has been consistently ranked amongst the top 10 schools in India since 2004 and is a finalist in the Innovation category for their student-centric approach to education.
We are the only Indian school in our category, overcoming adversity. The two other schools in our category’s top three are doing inspirational work and we are honoured to be recognised alongside them for delivering unique initiatives to inspire others. They are The Max Rayne Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem, Israel - the only bilingual, integrated Jewish-Arab primary-secondary school in the country - breaking down barriers between Jewish and Arab communities in the deeply divided Israeli education system; and Cadoxton Primary School in Wales, UK, that launched ‘pay as you feel’ food shops across South Wales to tackle food poverty.
The overcoming adversity prize considers schools that educate and develop children in the kinds of socio-emotional skills that can support their personal growth and the school as a community. The judging panel chose to shortlist us for our efforts in transforming the lives of children living with HIV/AIDS and those from sex worker families, breaking down stigmas and paving the way for a brighter future. With the 70% admissions rate from families outside the charity and a 100% pass rate in our 10th Std, all while carrying out efforts to end second-generation prostitution in our district, Snehalaya English Medium School is rewriting the narrative for marginalised communities in semi-rural India.
The World’s Best School Prize shines a spotlight on schools whose principals, teachers, and communities have demonstrated exemplary leadership and innovation to improve the education of their students beyond academic standards. Being shortlisted acknowledges that our school has been able to prove our efforts and impact towards our students and community.
The final winner will be announced on 4 November and will receive a share of the $250,000 award to expand and enhance their education projects.
Being recognised in this way is a huge accolade for our own school but also shines a light on all schools working to deliver quality education in India. We would like to invite all of our communities to celebrate our achievement and help us spread the word that schools and teachers are committed to empowering our students and communities to strengthen our nation.
You can help us. Vote for Snehalaya in the Community Choice Award, which is a bonus prize open to all top three finalists. This is an opportunity to show your support for our school.