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World's Best School Prize

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

On 4 November, T4 Education’s World’s Best School Prizes 2023 winners were announced. Congratulations to all winners, especially the Max Rayne Hand in Hand School in Jerusalem, Israel which won the Overcoming Adversity prize. While we are a little disappointed not to have won we are very happy, given the current situation in the Middle East, a school working to connect communities in a region torn apart by religion has been recognised.

Snehalaya English Medium School is still incredibly proud to have made it into the final top three for overcoming adversity. We were the only semi-rural and one of only two Indian schools to have made it into the finals. Congratulations to the other Indian contender, Riverside School in Ahmedabad, Gujarat which won the Innovation prize. Taking part in the awards process has been incredibly rewarding, from reflecting on our journey since 2010 while submitting our entry to celebrating our achievements with every shortlisting announcement.

We were especially honoured when Maharashtra’s Education Minister, Deepakji Kesarkar announced our Top Ten shortlisting in June and recognised our success in tackling discrimination at grassroots level. We also received a lot of media attention in June which led to a 10% increase in our 2023 admissions of pupils from outside Snehalaya. For our Top Three announcement in September, we wanted a community celebration and invited local schools to take part in cultural competitions with social entrepreneur Narendra Firodia and author Dr Sangita Barve, 2022 winner of the Sahitya Akademi Children's Sahitya Award, invited to announce our shortlisting.

Both events celebrated our school, Ahmednagar and Maharashtra with traditional songs and dancing. The final awards ceremony was a more intimate affair at our school with students, teachers and our Snehalaya family. Although we didn’t win it was a still a celebration of our journey and we all had a fantastic time partying together.

We know we made it to the top three for our groundbreaking work. When local schools refused full admission to our children because of their HIV status and mothers' professions we decided to open our own school where they would not be judged. Since then we have opened our doors to others creating an integrated student population that sees beyond societal stigmas. Our 100% pass rate in 10 std is also contributing to our success in stopping second-generation prostitution.

We are also excited that we are now part of the T4 Education community connected to other shortlisted schools and have also received offers of in-kind support and training from education professionals to help make our school even stronger.

We are grateful to our teachers, staff, students, parents and supporters who have all contributed to the strengthening of our school and this global recognition of our life-changing work.

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