Initially Aldis Jaspers came here from her home in Switzerland to use her training as a Kinisiologist in voluntary work for a local charity primarily concerned with physically challenged children. But as she travelled round the area getting to know it well, she decided there was a great need for a school for the poorest in society, where education could be child-centered in a loving atmosphere, and lessons using English could be offered to children, who would not have this opportunity in their village schools. She got together a group of Indian friends and in June 1999, she started the school together with Raja Kandaiah who became its founder president and put great effort into its early development. At first there were only 42 kindergarten children, sheltering under roofs made from coconut leaves. Today, there are 8 well-designed classrooms with 210 pupils, following the full spectrum of kindergarten and primary education. In 2001, Madhan Mohan took over as President, determined to emphasise the importance of creative learning, in a stress free environment, with an emphasis on ethical behavior, which is often missing in India today. He is supported in this work by Shyam Raj, Raja, Noorjahan and Viswanathan, the other members of the AVS governing board.
In order to support the school and provide finance, Aldis Jasper also founded the ‘Verein Arunachala Village School’ a society, in Switzerland, presently headed by Mr.Andreas Frei. This organisation with its many generous Swiss donors, has backed the school, enabling it to flower and grow. Others who have helped this to happen through their financial support, include So Hum Foundation, AHAM, Microsoft India and Philips India, and many more individual donors. This is obviously one way to help us. But there are many more, so here we shall tell you...
The school is located in the small village of Vediappanur, which is 7 kms from Tiruvannamalai, 180 kms, South of Chennai (Madras) and 100 kms inland from Pondicherry. It is named Arunachala Nursery & Primary School because the most powerful presence in the surrounding landscape, is the ancient granite mountain, Arunachala, which attracts many pilgrims, who believe it be a very holy place.
Our declared goal is not only to give each of our children the very best primary school education they can attain, but also to teach them to love each other, respect each other, and help each other wherever they can. We foster our children's creativity and common understanding of each other and of the environment, and we strive for empathy and harmony in all we do - always keeping in mind that through our students we reach the villages' people, and therefore make a change in society.
Love, trust and respect are the fundamental values of the education we provide. We foster creativity and common understanding for each other and the environment, we strive for empathy and harmony in all we do and we share the responsibility to care for what we build together: a learning community for children and people of the surrounding villages to create a bright future.