St. Andrew’s School, Siddapura
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
“In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.” Proverbs 14:26
St. Andrew’s Nursery and Kannada Higher Primary School (Someshwara Slum at Lalbagh) Siddapura in Bangalore, was established in 1978 and it is managed by St. Andrew’s Church.St. Andrew’s Church was awakened to the call of serving the poor, the hungry, the needy children and their community in 1977, under the prayerful guidance of Rev. S. A. Salins, the architect of our outreach program. He steered the members of St. Andrew’s Church to a course of benevolent action and involvement for the church to have a sincere concern for the poor and the underprivileged otherwise, especially to establish a free educational facility in a slum area. Thus, 1970s ushered in a new mission of the church to ‘taking sides with the poor’, and the renaissance of the social activity or the outreach work of the church blossomed with the formation of a registered Socio-economic Development Society in the year 1977.
Today, St. Andrews School has over 350 children from classes 1 to 7, 7 teachers and 3 helpers. St. Andrew’s school has become a model school, recognised by the education department. Pass rate has been 100 percent consistently. School has a computer aided learning lab and library that enables children to develop niche skills. The school provides nutritious mid-day meals every day, supported by the Akshaya Patra Foundation. Uniforms, books and bags are provided to every student each year.
The Sub-committee oversees the activities and upkeep of the school.
St. Andrew’s School Committee is the sub-committee of St. Andrew’s Church Pastorate Committee and is an outreach wing of the church working towards the administrative, educational and spiritual needs of St. Andrew’s School established in the year 1977. Beyond education, St. Andrew’s School Committee activities extend towards helping the community in literacy, health care, and economic development.St. Andrew’s Church was awakened to the call of serving the poor, the hungry, the needy children and their community 40 years ago under the prayerful guidance of Rev. S. A. Salins, the architect of our outreach program. He steered the members of St. Andrew’s Church to a course of benevolent action and involvement for the church to have a sincere concern for the poor and the underprivileged otherwise, especially to establish a free educational facility in a slum area. Thus, 1970s ushered in a new mission of the church to ‘taking sides with the poor’, and the renaissance of the social activity or the outreach work of the church blossomed with the formation of a registered Socio-economic Development Society in the year 1977.The SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY was formed in 1977, to give expression to this response in three-fold manner:1. To provide basic education for the children who are otherwise bereft of such an opportunity.
2. To provide basic education in health to the people particularly to the women folk.
3. To show mercy, love and compassion in action to all around us – the gospel of love and peace.
The project on education that was initiated with a humble beginning of establishing a Nursery School in the slum at Siddapura, near Lalbagh Gardens, Bangalore, was dedicated on 15th May 1977 by Mrs. Edna Gill, the wife of Rt. Rev. Kenneth Gill, the then Bishop of the Karnataka Central Diocese. The school has reached glorious heights today with the school up-graded to 7th standard as an Aided School with Government’s recognition and status, having around 250 children on its rolls being tutored by eight teachers. The active participation and sharing of the resources of the people around, members of the church, as well as the involvement of those residing in the slum have brought meaning to the out-reach activity, and today the school is ranked as one the best institutions in the nearby locality in Bangalore, as far as the ethics and standards of education are concerned. The alumni of our St. Andrew’s School have pursued their studies further in colleges, and have become graduates to occupy responsible and respectable positions in the society. This speaks volumes of the standard of education and discipline imparted by the school.
Originally when the nursery classes were started, a makeshift building was put up by raising small donations from well-wishers and “Shramdan” by the slum dwellers, and the youth of our church. However, as the attendance in the school increased, additional classes for higher standards had to be added. It was not possible to manage with the makeshift building even with periodic strengthening of its structure to accommodate additional classes while retaining the original structure as well for the nursery classes. Hence, a regular structure was put up in another plot of land set apart by the slum for the school, with the voluntary support of the residents of Siddapura.
The School became an AIDED institution on March 23, 1984. The need for providing regular classrooms became almost mandatory. Though the funds required for constructing a proper building was beyond the immediate reach of the church, the congregation members came forward to shoulder the added responsibility, and were planning to pave way for limited expansion, since we could not leave the children of our school in the lurch after having provided them with education up to 4th or 5th standard. At this point the entire congregation rose to the occasion and took up the challenge as they did in many earlier occasions, and we did complete the humble concrete structure we see today within the space available. In spite of all constraints, we made enough progress and improvements for the school.
Since both the structures accommodating the nursery and the higher standards were at a lower level when compared to that of the adjacent roads, rain water during the rainy season would enter straight into the classrooms and the children were put to great inconvenience. Classes could not be continued until the rain water was removed or till the rainy season was over. Suitable remedial measures were being contemplated for immediate implementation to raise the floor level of the class rooms with the help of our approved contractor, so that the work would be completed during the ensuing summer holidays. Yet, the measures were only temporary and we had to make room for adequate structure for the entire school to accommodate all the children without any problems whatsoever. This was possible only when we had a multiple floor building for the school replacing the existing one.
As it had become absolutely essential, the Pastorate Committee went ahead without sparing any time, and renovation work was initiated with the benevolent donation from the members of the congregation and well-wishers. The Renovation Work was completed in record time and was successfully accomplished as planned with the first floor accommodating more children. The second floor space is totally dedicated to projects for the children such as Computer Room, Library, and Science Laboratory. The renovated two-storied building now has enough classrooms meeting the basic requirements of the school, replacing the old structure, which was accommodating the Nursery, LKG and UKG, during July 2010.
The renovated school building was dedicated to the glory of God by our Moderator and Bishop, The Most Rev. Vasantha Kumar, during the month of July 2010, in memory of the late Rev. S. A. Salins, who has been the architect of our Socio-economic and Out-reach Work, and also the Founder of St. Andrew’s School. We duly acknowledge with gratitude, the support, donations, valuable time, and generous donations from the members of our congregation and well-wishers of our church over the years.
We thank and praise God for all His mercies bestowed on us for our out-reach work and for the construction of this unimaginable and prominent two-storied School Building in Siddapura Area.
The members of our congregation as always are the core strength for this outreach program. We also would like to remember and thank all the School Conveners, who have taken pride in working for St Andrews School. The congregation has always appreciated the school children during their visits to the school on festive occasions like Christmas, Annual School Day, Independence and Republic Days. The members have whole-heartedly donated modern aids and gadgets that are needed, including free books and stationery. Recently, uniforms, school bags, cardigans and books were provided. Till about 2015, children would sit on the floor and attend their classes. Chairs and benches were provided from 2016 to all the children across all classes. All this was possible only because of benevolent donors who wish to be anonymous. We thank them for all their support and prayers. We have also set-up a Library with books in English and Kannada, and a Computer Lab with Internet connectivity and educational programs set-up on fifteen Computers.
We would like to recognize and thank the Headmistresses who have served, and have always pushed the boundaries in educating the children and gearing them up to be better citizens of our Country. The two Headmistresses who have served are Mrs. Vijalakshmi (1977 – 1984), and the current Principal, Mrs. Indra Bai, who has served for the past 33 years (1984 – Till date). She is a lady with grit and determination who has helped us in getting recognition to our school at the District level and State level.
In all our endeavours, our mission has always been to spread the Word of God among these children and their parents. Mrs. Janet Abraham has been a pillar of strength for these children, counselling them and guiding them in the path of Truth and Knowledge. We would like to thank her for all the support and guidance she provides for the kids. Through God’s Word we gain an understanding that God is the one who gives the gift of knowledge (Proverbs 2:6a).
We are happy to see today that the work we had started 40 years ago in a humble way with the prayers, guidance, advice and untiring efforts of late Rev. S. A. Salins, the subsequent Presbyters, Pastorate Committee Members, and every member of the church, has been blessed many-fold. Let us praise the Lord and give thanks unto Him!
The best out-going students from the school are awarded Merit Scholarship by the Scholarship Committee of the church every year on St. Andrew’s Day, along with the other Merit students from the congregation.
The Community of St. Andrew’s Church is extremely happy today that we have been able to provide education to the downtrodden and the needy children living in Siddapura, thereby taking the gospel to the unreached through the activities of our Socio-Economic Development Society and the Mission and Evangelism Committee.
With gratitude to God, we remember the words as we find in Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
St. Andrew’s School