The Arali Sunday School in the Samtskhe-Javakheti community in Georgia opened as a one-day-a-week operation. But to meet the needs of the students in the area, the school’s doors don’t wait for Sunday to open. Offering tutorial classes and basic services, the Sunday school is now a seven-day-a-week community centre. Here are photos from Childview’s visit this past December.
A teacher at the Arali Sunday School lectures during a history tutorial. The school offers fee-free remedial classes in 16 subjects.
Children play their instruments during a music class. “This is one place kids come together,” says Ia, a nun and the headmaster of the school. “Music classes are one way to get kids to play together.” Ia’s church, the Arali Monastery, opened the school in an abandoned building, formerly a shop before the fall of the Soviet Union.
Ia enjoys a cup of tea during a break. When asked why the school is important, she gives two reasons: “First, it’s education. Second, it’s personal development.” The Arali Sunday School serves vulnerable children—those who need help to not fall behind in day school—and offers basic services, including access to photocopiers, computers and the Internet, to the community.
Teona (foreground) poses for a photo during a break in her history remedial class. Teona, 16, has been sponsored for three years. She’s in Grade 11 and hopes to study economics and business at Oxford or Cambridge University in England. “I want to become the minister of economics,” says Teona. “I want to become a necessary person for my country.” The studious teen visits the Arali Sunday School seven days a week to catch up on all her studies. “This is the time to be learning,” Teona says. “In [day] school, there is not enough time to learn.” She adds, “Going here is very important to me. I need to learn much, much. It is good for me.”
Ia worked for two different non-governmental agencies before joining the Sunday school. World Vision has supported the school, providing desks, chairs, musical instruments and computers, and funding plumbing and electrical renovations. Ia says the Arali Monastery opened the Sunday school to build relationships with the community members. “We want to be community-oriented,” she says.
The landscape of the Samtskhe-Javakheti community.
See related photo gallery: The Arali Disability Centre >>
This article was published on February 27, 2014.