Grace Charitable Trust currently provides 4 school buses, which take children to and from school. The life expectancy of a bus is approximately seven years. Travelling daily on pot-holed roads and through monsoon rains takes it’s toll on the buses. Maintenance costs can be quite high, punctures are a regular occurrence, then there are the running costs of insurance, servicing the vehicles, diesel and drivers salaries.
Watch the school bus crossing a road flooded by monsoon rains.
The Government of India recognised that tribal children had long distances to walk to get to school so they established dormitories at some schools in order that children could stay overnight during term time, rather than face monsoon rains or wild animals on the long daily walks.
Government Tribal Residential schools (GTR’s) are in essence a good idea, however they are not popular with parents so they are little used. Dormitories suffer from poor bathroom facilities and the children are separated from their families. They also need a supervising adult to be present, especially to protect girls, where a female warden is required. The lack of wardens means that many parents will not allow their child to stay at school.
Before Grace Charitable Trust began providing regular transport for the children many would be kept home from school and as a result attendance levels and motivation to return to school attributed to the high pupil drop-out rate.