The Lucy Perry Noble Institute is a school for girls covering preschool through 11th grade in Madurai, one of India’s southern cities. The school provides education to 1,800 girls, mostly Dalits, the most excluded peoples in India whom are often called the “untouchables.” Many of these children also come from families living in a large leprosy colony close to the school where their relatives experience physical and social challenges from the disease. Some students are orphans, living in the school’s dormitory while they attend. Every year, the number of girls attending the Lucy Perry Noble School grows, spreading the benefits of education and empowerment throughout the community.
Grounded in a belief that the country’s most excluded children can be empowered through education, the school embraces the motto, “Love that leads life upwards.” Girls in India also face gender disparities, and it is common for families to send their daughters to work instead of school, while receiving less than half the salaries of men. Therefore, for girls from Dalit families, a lack of education perpetuates a life of poverty and oppression leaving limited opportunities to climb out of the vicious cycle.
By attending the Lucy Perry Noble Institute, girls receive the education needed to break this vicious cycle and gender disparities. In addition to academics, the school provides employment and vocational training services. Professional weavers teach tailoring, embroidery, and rug-making as well as other skills to the students. These skills can be used after graduation to earn a living wage and support themselves and their families, as well as equipping students for the challenges that are faced during the transition into adulthood and self-sufficiency.
Over the past years, the Lucy Perry Noble Institute has been able to develop and expand its capacity by building new facilities and expanding services and curriculum. The Lucy Perry Noble Institute is proud of their new access point for clean water on campus. This new access point was valuable during a recent drought where many wells in the community were dry or contaminated. Over the past five years, the Lucy Perry Noble Institute has added over 1,000 books to their school library, and is beginning to focus on enhancing computer and video technologies, in addition to preparing a new space for these technologies, to create additional educational programs.
In relation to these recent renovations, the Lucy Perry Noble Institute is able to continue its mission of educating and providing new opportunities for the country’s most excluded girls. Recently, the graduating class took their final exams, with 235 out of 236 passing, and five receiving full marks. It is with great hope and excitement that these girls are going out into their communities with the necessary skills to provide for themselves and their families.
As many of the students from the school come are from the Dalit community, scholarships from the state and federal government are available for graduates to further their studies at a university. In efforts to create additional opportunities for graduates to attend university, the Lucy Perry Noble Institute provides scholarships to 12-15 qualifying graduates of the school to further their studies at Lady Doak College, also a long-standing partner of Global Ministries. The scholarships from Lucy Perry Noble Institute provide funds for housing (if necessary), books, program fees, and clothing expenses for each recipient.
The Lucy Perry Noble Institute recognizes there are multiple challenges to overcome for improving their community and society, and these challenges require a variety of short and long-term solutions, including education, empowerment, and community development. The work of the Lucy Perry Noble Institute is one piece of the larger picture in creating lasting peace and justice to communities around the world.
Update: August 2018
The Lucy Perry Noble Institute is a school providing education for girls in India. Many students come from rural and Dalit or “untouchables” communities. Some students are living without parents, some students are disabled, and some students live in leprosy communities near the school. The girls complete academic coursework as well as learn various trades such as tailoring and farm skills. With the motto, “Love that leads life upwards,” the Lucy Perry Noble School is hopeful that they are training a new generation of girls who will continue to rise up and create lasting change towards a more peaceful and just society.
During the past five years, the school has added over 1,000 books to their library and is working to incorporate computer and video technologies into their classrooms. Through special gifts, the Lucy Perry Noble School added a Smart Classroom and additional relevant educational programs. Now students are gaining an understanding in how to use technology, a crucial skill in today’s world.
In recent years, the Lucy Perry Noble Institute has built new facilities and made several renovations to the existing buildings. In 2018, with support from Global Ministries, the school opened a cafeteria providing 150 children with a meal. As the previous cafeteria building was no longer safe for use, the staff and students are thankful for the support from Global Ministries that provided resources to complete this new construction.
Support through Global Ministries has also aided various students with their school and housing fees. While many girls from the Dalit community receive government scholarships, there are still many students not able to continue schooling without financial support. In the 2017-2018 school year, Global Ministries provided scholarships for six young girls to continue their education.