It’s an incredible success story, especially when you consider the challenges posed by Covid restrictions.
According to Saten Sharma, President of Waitakere Hindi School, the school teaches children and adults how to read, write and speak Hindi. Classes are also offered in traditional Indian dancing and musical instruments, including the tabla and harmonium. All ages, nationalities and cultures are enrolled at the school.
‘Our classes are open anyone aged five upwards,’ Saten reports. ‘The oldest student is aged 63!'
The school is staffed by professional teachers and overseen by a dedicated volunteer committee. Lessons take place on Sundays from 9.00 am to 1.30 pm throughout the school year.
The school also regularly participates in community events and celebrations. According to Saten, the school even gave the Auckland Academy Cricket team a crash course in the Hindi language to get familiar with the lingo used by Indian cricket teams!
Like all schools, Waitakere Hindi School was forced to switch to online learning during Covid restrictions.
‘We keep our membership costs as low as possible so that everyone can join in without an extra burden to parents,’ explains Saten.
However, the costs of shifting to online learning have been high. The school needed to purchase laptops for teachers. And it also had to buy a commercial Zoom license so that larger numbers could participate online.
‘The Trusts has been a fantastic supporter of our school for many years now,’ says Saten. ‘We applied to the Your West Support Fund for help and are very grateful to receive $9,000. This has gone a long way to covering the costs of online learning,’ he concludes.
The school reopens in February with face-to-face classes once more. However, the extra laptops and software mean teachers can incorporate more interactive, web-based learning into the classroom. And the school is also ideally placed to respond quickly if online learning returns.