• Reuters

Age no bar: elderly Indian women go to school for first time


PHANGANE, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A little before 2 pm each day, when residents of Phangane village in India's Maharashtra state usually take a quick nap in the heat of the day, elderly women in bright pink sarees head towards a colorful hut, clutching satchels and plastic bags.

Inside the hut, festooned with streamers and flowers, the women gingerly sit cross-legged on cotton rugs on the mud floor, and pull out slates, notebooks, chalk and pencils. Minutes later, a younger woman leads them in a prayer song before they begin reciting the Marathi alphabet after her.

The Aajibaichi Shala, or grandmothers' school, is perhaps the only one in India for uneducated, elderly women. Set up by a charitable trust and Yogendra Bangar, a teacher at the village's primary school, the school teaches the women to read and write, and basic arithmetic.


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