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TOS Annie Besant Model School, Rayagada, Odisha
From its humble beginnings as a balwadi (nursery) school in 1992, the TOS Annie Besant Model School, has become government recognised and provides classes from nursery to class VII. The school that began with 20 students in a thatched house in Rayagada, Odisha, India is now housed in a permanent building with amenities such as piped water, electrical lines, toilets and a playground.

TOS Annie Besant Model School in Rayagada, Odisha, India

With the help of the late Prof. Chintamani Mohapatra, former president of Utkal Theosophical Federation, Odisha and his wife Smt. Snehalata Mohapatra, president, TOS group, Rayagada, the school was named the TOS Vikash Balwadi School and formally inaugurated in 1994. In 2006, the school received government recognition up to class IV.

Its student body has grown to 210, with nine teachers and a Principal. Most of the students are from a poor background and are provided a free education funded by donations from TS and TOS members, non-members and organisations. Currently, emphasis is being placed on developing theosophically-based educational methods such as those outlined in Vic Hao Chin’s booklet Establishing Theosophical Schools.

Principal standing with nursery students holding teddies
sent by the TOS Italy.

R. to L.: Radhaji, former TS president, with B.L. Bhattacharya, Director TOS India, Khageswar Routray, former secretary TOS Odisha, Mrs G. Satyavati, School Principal and Sister Snehalata Mahapatra (in the foreground) distributing school uniforms to students in the past.

Recently, in consultation with the TOS president, Odisha, Dr Deepa Padhi, it was renamed as the TOS Annie Besant Model School. At its current strength of 210 students, the school provides classes from Nursery toclass VII. Students learn Odia, Telugu and English as well as the other required subjects leading to a quality education. As a TOS school, emphasis is given to inner discipline and values. The daily school routine begins with recitation of “O Hidden Life” followed by a short meditation period and then yoga and pranayama for 15 minutes.

Students doing meditation

Students doing pranayama (breathing exercises)

After finishing at the TOS Annie Besant Model School, its students move on to attend local government high schools. Some former students now work as electricians, mechanics, nurses and teachers. Three former students are studying engineering with the support of generous persons in the local TS.

Girl students performing dances

Deepa Padhi, President (centre), and two members of the TOS
Mahabharat Group distribute prizes to students


Principal, Mrs G. Satyavati (seated) and the teachers at the TOS
Annie Besant Model School
The teaching staff consists of the Principal, nine teachers (eight paid and one volunteer) and an attendant. Both the Principal, Mrs G. Satyavati and her husband, Mr G. Chandramouli Rao who takes care of the accounts, have been associated with the school from its beginnings. They are deeply dedicated and do not take any salary.

The teachers and attendant at the school are paid very little, grossly below present economic conditions. The TOS Odisha would like to remedy that by increasing salaries to currently acceptable standards. They plan to build a corpus fund, the interest from which will provide funds for teachers’ salaries for many years to come. In addition, there is immediate need for some building repairs, and the students all need uniforms, socks and shoes. To put that into perspective for Westerners, uniforms, socks and shoes for all 210 students comes to approximately US$ 2,200 or €2,000. If you or your group would like to help with the corpus fund or immediate needs please contact us at for details.
We think you’ll agree that the TOS Annie Besant Model School has come a long way since its modest beginnings in 1992. The school’s current vision of further developing theosophically based educational methods based on concepts put forth in Establishing Theosophical Schools is commendable, exciting and another step forward for Theosophy in today’s world.

What is a theosophical school? According to Vic Hao Chin – “A theosophical school is not necessarily a school that formally teaches theosophy. A school that is loving, non-sectarian, not using fear or ranking or competition, nurtures a free and independent mind and an ethical and selfless character – these are the elements that make a theosophical school.”
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