Alwar District, India
The Nirvanavan Foundation is a grassroots organization working in the remote areas of Alwar district of Rajasthan on educational, ecological and social issues. The foundation serves children in areas where poverty is widespread and some girls may be forced into prostitution due to lack of other economic opportunities.
Some of the students are from the 'Nat' and 'Kanjar' communities, which have been traditionally involved in entertainment and have rich histories of dance and folk song. In recent generations, many of the families from these communities have become involved in prostitution. The schools run by Nirvanavan engage children in traditional dance and folk songs as well as teaching them academic subjects such as Hindi and English. It now runs eight primary schools in the villages at highest risk and has plans to open two more, to firmly establish ten centers of learning.
The children of Nat and Kanjar are as eager to learn as any other children in the world. The foundation seeks to provide them with basic education so that they are able to find alternative livelihood opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives.
Champions:Rucha Chitnis, Sai Kiran & Jeff Carino San Francisco, CA