The Panchsheel Hostel in Paratwara is the first project created by the collaboration of the Gawai and Gemen couples. It originated in 1990 and solves for many Adivasi children a seemingly unsolvable problem; Even if these children or their parents have an interest in school education, this usually fails because there is no school in the middle area that can be visited. Since the children are from the poorest families, no car or motorbike is available. The parents don’t have the money to pay for the bus or taxi every day. So the desire for education for the children often simply failed on the long school paths. School places are available in the cities.
For this reason the hostel was built in the city of Paratwara. Students can come to the hostel on Monday, refer to their rooms with friends and go to the schools daily. There is close co-operation between the hostel and the state schools, so the food can be guaranteed by both parties in cooperation. On Saturdays, still at school, the children have the opportunity to visit their parents in their villages.
In the early days, the maintenance of the hostel was very difficult as the suspicion and skepticism of Mr Gawai’s voluntary commitment was still too great on the part of the authorities. Thus the food supply and the maintenance of the site for the first three years had to be paid completely by donations or by Mr. Gawai himself. After this time, however, the local authorities also realized that the hostel is a sensible institution which gives the Adivasi children access to education – since then there has also been support from the state.
Since its inception, the number of children in the building has been sustained to over 60, which is why over the past 24 years, many children have benefited from education.
The project has been supervised by a brother of Bajirao Gawai for many years.
Read more: Panchsheel Adivasi Ashram School