Omerga Boys' hostel was built in 1994 after a devastating earthquake the previous year which left many villages and poor families destitute. There is still a desperate need for accommodation and educational support for boys as the local farming communities are extremely poor due to frequent droughts and the ever-worsening condition of the land.
Recent surveys and research show that many families in the Osmanabad area of Maharashtra still have limited access to decent education. Village schools often offer provision only up to the age of 10, and high schools can be a 15 km walk from the village.
Many parents are illiterate, landless labourers earning less than Rs.30,000 (£300) a year. Because of this, they choose to bring their children to work with them in the fields, rather than send them to school, as they need the money.
The hostel provides the boys with the opportunity to break free from this cycle of poverty, by acquiring an excellent education in a warm, nurturing environment. The majority of students stay with the hostel for 5 years to complete their secondary education.The wardens work closely with the local schools and provide additional study support and tuition to ensure that the boys realise their academic potential. The hostel is also benefitting from a new computer lab which is giving the students the opportunity to become digitally-literate, a vital skill for professional jobs. The hostel encourages the boys to aim high for their dreams and many ex-students have gone on to achieve success in careers in the film industry, government, police, banking and education.