An Amazing Journey of International Cooperation
March, 2021 - by Leslie Bouche, International Service Committee Chair

Prashanti International School (PIS) is a non-profit day school for Kindergarten through 8th grade in a poor village area outside the city of Puri, India. PIS provides a quality, values-based education for a current enrollment of 270 students at a very low tuition accessible by poor families. Enrollment is growing each year. The program also includes a residential children’s home for 40 of the students from the most impoverished backgrounds that provides housing, food, clothing, medical care, education and daily tutoring for them on full scholarship.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018, the Rotary Club of Ojai created and successfully completed five District and Club grants to benefit the children of Prashanti International School. These grants provided drinking water purification units, laptop computers and related items, water storage tanks, washrooms tiling and fixtures, and a septic tank and sanitation system for the school. The grants ranged in value from $1032 to $10,937. Additionally, RC Ojai granted $1000 to PIS to provide emergency food items to local families who were unable to get basic foods at the beginning of the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown in Puri. The projects totaled over $20,000, and they were very successful and completed on time and to budget.
In January, 2018, four Rotarians from Ojai traveled to India to see the grant projects in person and to participate in the inauguration of a new classroom building for Prashanti International School. It was so exciting to see the program in action and to observe the fine quality of work that had been accomplished by our Rotary grants. Most wonderful, though, was meeting and interacting with the children of PIS. The children were so bright, communicative and sweet. We fell in love!
We had meetings with the staff of PIS and had the opportunity to meet with members of the local Rotary Club of Srikshetra Puri. Together, we decided to embark on a Global Grant that would enable Prashanti International School to achieve their dream of adding grades 9 and 10 and becoming an accredited English-immersion high school. This would provide Prashanti students the preparation necessary to take the rigorous exams and to be admitted to university or high skills vocational programs that would dramatically change their life trajectory.
So, we created a Global Grant totaling $87,515 to help develop Prashanti International School. Ojai Rotary would be the International Club and Srikshetra Rotary would be the Host Club. Funding was accomplished by the generous financial participation by fourteen Rotary Clubs, with District Designated funds from three Rotary Districts, and matched funds from the Rotary World Fund.  The Global Grant application was approved by Rotary International on February 26, 2019.
This ambitious Global Grant provides funding to build:
  • Boundary wall around the entire 2-acre property
  • Fabricate and install 3 large school entrance gates 
  • Build an interior approach road and grade the school grounds to prevent flooding 
  • Install tiling and fixtures in several school restrooms 
  • Furnish several classrooms with desks and benches, locking metal cabinets, white boards, teachers desks and chairs 
  • 12 Laptop computers and projector screens plus printer for classrooms and computer lab
  •  Installation of fiber optic cable to the school, an internet router, and 12 month’s rent for internet access 
  • Teacher training programs in advanced English instruction, class management, training in Education in Human Values, and Inner Yoga for Teachers
  • Funding for the application fee to the Central Board of Secondary Education to enable PIS to add grades 9 and 10
In the two years since the grant was approved, an incredible amount of work has been completed. Despite the Category 5 Super Cyclone Fani that made a direct hit on Puri in May of 2019 and caused a huge amount of damage to the area, and then the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 and ensuing lockdown creating disruption and delays, we are nearing completion of all that work. It is amazing what has been accomplished in just two years! Only the Teacher Training and CBSE Application remain to be completed. Both items were delayed because of the 2020 Pandemic. We are working to complete the entire Global Grant by the end of this Rotary year.
Thank you to the following clubs who contributed to this project – Cash totaling $31,100:
Bakersfield East
Paso Robles Sunrise
Pismo Beach (Five Cities)
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
Thousand Oaks
Westlake Village Sunrise
Salinas Steinbeck
E-Club of One World D5240
Host Club: Srikshetra Puri
International Club: Ojai
Partner Organization: World Family Foundation, Ojai 
District Designated funds of $20,500
From Districts 5240, 5230, 5340
World Fund Match: $35,005
Global Grant Total: $87,515
2020 Prashanti International School, Puri, India – Looking so beautiful with the completion of the Global Grant work!
Rotarians Mike Weaver, Susan Weaver, Kay Bliss, and Leslie Bouche with Prashanti School Founder Elizabeth Burnett – January 2018
January 2018 - Inauguration ceremony to formally open new classroom building for Prashanti International School. 
January 2018 - Awards and presentations at Inauguration Day
January 2018 - Rotarians helping present student awards
January 2018 - Rtn Leslie Bouche celebrating the installation of a new clean drinking water purification unit at Prashanti International School with the ladies of Inner Wheel Club, Puri
January 2018 - Ojai Rotarians admiring an Ojai Rotary funded water tank on the roof of the school.

Rtn Kay Bliss with students of Prashanti School
Rtn Kay Bliss enjoying a student’s schoolwork

Rtn Susan Weaver listening attentively to a student explaining his schoolwork

Student practicing reading English with Rtn Mike Weaver

Rtn Leslie Bouche - hugs and smiles and love all around
Rtn Kay Bliss receiving blessings for a happy and safe journey
January 2018 - Ojai Rotarians Mike Weaver, Kay Bliss and Leslie Bouche meeting with Srikshetra Puri Rotarians Rabi Mohapatra and Biraja Dhal and brainstorming to create the $87,515 Global Grant to benefit the children of Prashanti International School.