Hindu Orphanage for Boys
The year 1900 saw a severe plague ravage the city of Mumbai and parts of Gujarat state claiming innumerable lives. The wife of then Governor of Mumbai, Lady Northcote, with the help of some affluent businessmen started this orphanage to provide shelter to the children orphaned during the catastrophe.
The original trustees had a provision that the children be taught spiritual values, but over the years the standards and the facilities deteriorated. Now, the vision of The Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage (LNHO) at Govardhan Eco Village (GEV) is to emotionally, socially and spiritually nourish the children. This helps them draw out their inherent talents and guide them to a brighter future.
In order to live a life of responsibility and dignity, a holistic training model has been developed. This includes training the students in academics, vocational skills, spiritual traits and physical well being. Early years are the formative years. Ideals and training instilled in these years last through-out one’s life.
Radhanath Swami emphasized that the stay of the children at the Orphanage should give them sweet and happy memories of their childhood. Taking inspiration from Radhanath Swami’s words, the Orphanage at GEV aims at giving the students a complete package of academic education, training in traditional technologies, moral values and a principle centered life style in an atmosphere of love and care.
In the early 20th century, Lady Northcote Hindu Orphanage (LNHO) was established to give shelter to the famine afflicted children. In the 80s’, ISKCON was invited to operate the orphanage on the lines of Gurukul system (the Vedic standard for education).
Since then, steady efforts have been made to provide excellent quality training and education, along with imparting spiritual values, mostly to the economically under privileged children under the guidance of Radhanath Swami.
In the year 2005, LNHO was moved to GEV, so as to provide a pure atmosphere for children’s healthy growth. Today there are over 50 under privileged boys in LNHO from various villages close to GEV. The unique feature of the training system here is the blend of Vedic education that preserves ancient values and modern education that keeps in touch with today’s world. Training the rural children to become leaders of tomorrow, LNHO today runs almost completely on charitable donations.
With excellent teaching staff and idyllic setting of peaceful rural surroundings, LNHO offers the right kind of setup conducive for learning. Sporting in the vast playgrounds of GEV, all the children are provided with physical training to ensure that the healthy body complements a healthy body.
By providing fresh vegetables and milk from the farm, all nutritional requirements of the students are taken care of. By nourishing their inner self, comprehensive spiritual training is offered to all the students, teaching them how to make a life and not just a living. Also included in their curriculum are vocational training courses like farming, cow care, carpentry, painting and handicrafts encouraging the children to take up traditional means of livelihood, rather than to migrate to the cities, although they are equipped to do this if they wish. Using modern methods like experiential learning, periodic field trips and home schooling, the best quality of teaching is offered to the students.
Training in additional skills like rapid reading, vocabulary building, Vedic mathematics and spoken English are also extensively taught. LNHO is truly offering a complete package of academic and spiritual education, training in traditional technologies, moral values and principle centered life style in an atmosphere of love and care. This ensures that the children are taught to a high standard whereby they are empowered to facilitate their own future, and have the knowledge and skills to achieve above and beyond their previous limitations.
- Boys attend state-run day schools
- Tuition for academic studies and skills for speed-reading, memorization, note taking and various other study techniques are taught by experts.
- Training in gardening, handicrafts, painting and in vocational subjects are extensively taught that the children can implement in their future endeavors.
- Farm grown organic grains, vegetables and milk from local cows are part of their balanced and nutritious diet.
- Extra curricular activities include spiritual prayers, meditation, yoga, music and drama performances within the community.
- Daily sports including swimming, and physical training are also offered.
- Educational trips to historical places.
- A weekly class for teaching spiritual values.
Staff and Facilities
The LNHO has ten qualified and experienced teachers capable of teaching multiple subjects, making it an excellent and diverse teaching facility.
LNHO also invites teachers and counselors from outside the immediate vicinity of GEV to give special training and guidance to the students. The ashram teachers give spiritual training to the students and act as guardians for the children. They oversee the daily schedule of the students, especially after the school hours which is a key aspect vital to the development of the children.
Mrs. Suchitra Sawant, a well-known career counselor and education psychologist visits LNHO every month and gives guidance and counseling to the students of eighth, ninth and tenth standards.
The emphasis of LNHO is to adopt novel teaching techniques that make academics fun and enlivening for the students. In order to increase the quality of teaching and professionalism, mandatory training courses are conducted for all the teachers. Four members of teaching staff had undergone a one-week training program in The Gram Mangal Institute in Aine village. The institute was started by the revolutionary, Tarataiodak, who specializes in innovative and lively techniques for teaching young children which employs many teaching aids in a unique manner. Emphasis is placed on teaching in harmony with nature and imparting value based education by giving more personal attention and counselling to the students thereby focusing on the children’s personality development and not just with a view to get ‘good grades’.
The LNHO also offers the following facilities:
- Computer lab
- Science lab
- Audio visual teaching aids
- Traditional Gymnasium
- Sprawling play grounds
Want to join school again?
With the newly introduced Home Schooling Scheme, learning is now an all-new fun experience. Home schooling, a concept which is new to most in India, is a popular practice adopted by parents all over the world. Statistics have revealed that 2 hours of home schooling is equivalent to 1 week of normal schooling. So with all the time saved, students get an opportunity to learn varieties of activities and broaden their understanding.
The system of education followed at LNHO focuses on overall development of the children and not just on cramming in information. Children are taught not just for acquiring marks in exams, but also to discover the latent skills within, by exposure to diverse fields of activity. All of this training is given on the strong foundation of culture and values, thereby giving a holistic approach to the process of education.
Blending the knowledge of the modern science and the wisdom of the ancient scriptures, the schedule of LNHO has been carefully crafted to nourish not only the body, mind and intellect, but also to imbibe values and principles by harnessing the power of divinity within.
A typical day at LNHO begins with the children attending the divine chants at the morning prayers, which have a profound impact on the psyche of all who attend. Following this principle, Meditation and Recitation sessions have been introduced. Assembling in the spacious open corridor of the orphanage, facing the gorgeous Mt. Kohoj, the children absorb their consciousness in divine sound vibration. Expanding the spiritual experience from within to without, the kids then workout in a rejuvenating yoga session. The morning spiritual sojourn ends by offering prayers to the Spiritual preceptors, which is an important Vedic practice that imbibes the culture of respect.
After a nourishing breakfast, the kids engage in personal study, before the schooling sessions begin. The orphanage has six qualified and experienced teachers capable of teaching multiple subjects, making it an excellent teaching facility. Using interactive teaching techniques and personalized counselling sessions, great care has been taken to make the process of learning a pleasurable experience. The children are also trained in special skills like note taking, spoken English, rapid reading and efficient studying. Extending to six sessions, the daily academic training of the kids concludes by noon, followed by Lunch – a nutritious meal, hygienically prepared from organic vegetables home grown at our very own GEV farm.
The Vocational training program is specially designed to imbibe the principles of self-sustenance and eco living. The students are trained in cooking, carpentry, tailoring, handicrafts, painting and music – skills that remain a lifelong asset.
Training is also imparted in Organic farming, Floriculture and Cow protection thereby nurturing the spirit for environmental protection and eco-friendliness from the nascent stage of their lives.
In the evening, traditional games like Kho-Kho and Kabaddi are played so that the children not only improve their stamina and agility, but also learn the importance of team spirit and cooperation.
A clean body is home to a clean mind, so special emphasis is given on cleanliness, with an hour every evening dedicated for personal hygiene. In order to develop a family spirit in the orphanage, all the children come together during dinner and enjoy the meal in each other’s company.
Finally, the children get together for an enlivening session of storytelling, from various books of wisdom like Srimad Bhagavatam. The storytelling ends with enchanting group music and the kids retire to bed after an eventful day with a glass of hot milk, fresh from the GEV Goshala.
So the question is … Want to join school again?