Gandhi Ashram in India was founded in 1992 by Fr Edward McGuire, a Canadian Jesuit. He was asked by his Superior to open a school for poor children in Kalimpong, in the Jesuit Province of Darjeeling. Fr McGuire not only opened the school but gave it a strong musical emphasis, beginning in the first year with a small string orchestra.
Today, the orchestra is still going strong, specializing in music from the Western classical tradition as well as national and local Indian folk music. Music instruction is integrated in the curriculum of Gandhi Ashram, which is open to all children from poor families.
Recently, the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) in the United States featured Gandhi Ashram in a Newshour report. It includes the remarkable story of one of the school’s best known graduates, Kushmita Biswakarma, who won a scholarship to study at the Music University of Nuremberg in Germany. You can view this report and hear Kushmita’s story here: