There are many reasons that a low-income school like ours, needs a uniform. Other than the fact that children love to wear them it represents status to families and teaches routine and hygiene. Considering our students live locally Patashala often feels like an extension of their home, not only for children but also for parents. Its important we try and get parents and students to cooperate in school timings and dress. Uniforms make sure children have changed from the clothes that they have slept in the night before and do not smell.
Schools in India often have more than one uniform for activities like sports, scouts/guides and school house uniforms. These often include multiple pairs of each along with ties, belts and shoes. This can be a major financial burden on families and deter them from buying them.
Since the majority of our students cannot afford different uniforms and accessories we decided to bulk buy uniforms so students could buy them at much cheaper rate. We designed a uniform that would require the least amount of accessories and would be cheap to make. This means parents can afford the uniforms and we can give further subsidies to those who need them.
We employed a local women’s self help group to stitch us about 210 pairs of uniforms. The boys uniform includes a polo shirt and matching elastic shorts and the girls have a single summer dress. We kept the same blue colour so students who have the old uniform do not need to buy a new one. The clothes are meant to fit them loosely as the weather around the year tends to be very hot.