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Barkingside teacher launches fundraising campaign to build special needs school in India

PUBLISHED: 13:00 22 September 2019

Ashlea Griffith has launched a fundraising campaign to build a special needs school in a small Himalayan town. Picture: Ashlea Griffith

Ashlea Griffith has launched a fundraising campaign to build a special needs school in a small Himalayan town. Picture: Ashlea Griffith

Archant

A teacher from Barkingside has launched a campaign to raise £5,000 to finish building a special needs school in India. Naye Asha, meaning "new hope" in Hindi, is a special education needs (SEN) unit attached to New Horizon school in a small Himalayan town called Palampur in northern India.

Ashlea Griffiths is hoping to raise £5,000 to finish building a special needs school in north India. Picture: Ashlea GriffithAshlea Griffiths is hoping to raise £5,000 to finish building a special needs school in north India. Picture: Ashlea Griffith

Ashlea Griffith, who trained as a music teacher and now works for the National Autistic Society, alongside studying for a PhD about the impact of autism on low-income families, visited the school recently and said she was moved by the teacher's dedication to students with additional needs.

"While India's SEN systems continue to grow, some smaller villages often struggle to receive the right educational support for children with additional needs," Ashlea said.

On her trip, Ashlea met Dr Padam "Bobby" Dev Singh, who has been slowly building the school for the past 11 years with the help of a few volunteers.

Dr Bobby's vision is for the school to provide free education and help abolish the educational divide between rich and poor - hence the name New Horizon, where sky meets earth without any boundaries.

Ashlea Griffith is fundraising to complete the roof at Naye Asha, India, so she can start training local special education needs teachers. Picture: Ashlea GriffithAshlea Griffith is fundraising to complete the roof at Naye Asha, India, so she can start training local special education needs teachers. Picture: Ashlea Griffith

Alongside New Horizon, Ashlea's vision is to establish an SEN provision at the school which employs and trains staff to UK standards, while offering a safe, open and engaging environment for children with additional needs.

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New Horizon is almost ready to open, but Naye Asha still has some way to go.

Ashlea, a "proud Redbridge resident", has launched a crowdfunding campaign to complete the build, help train staff and develop a bespoke curriculum.

Bobby (Dr. Padam Dev Singh). Picture: Ashlea GriffithBobby (Dr. Padam Dev Singh). Picture: Ashlea Griffith

"I am fundraising to complete the roof so I can begin with training teachers - the idea is to create a safe, engaging environment for people with special needs in north India," Ashlea said.

"This will hopefully include an outreach program to train other local teachers and a family support service.

"I'm hoping to also inspire other young people to become more involved in special needs help in Redbridge."

Ashlea is launching a website at the end of September where donors will be able to see how the project is progressing.

Ashlea Griffith has launched a fundraising campaign to build a special needs school in a small Himalayan town. Picture: Ashlea GriffithAshlea Griffith has launched a fundraising campaign to build a special needs school in a small Himalayan town. Picture: Ashlea Griffith

To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nayee-asha-sen-school.

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