THE SCHOOL

How it started


After Marie-Francoise Bisson ("Mary") retired in 2009 from her special needs teacher and educational psychologist post at the Office Medico-Pédagogique in Geneva, she decided to live in the north Indian holy city Banaras (Varanasi) for 6 months a year. There she started working as a full-time professional educational psychologist for the NGO Kiran Village as part of a consultation unit for children with physical or mental difficulties focusing on parents' involvement.

As the demand became increasingly targeted towards autism and Down's syndrome, in 2012 Mary started a discussion with Indian friends on the prospect of opening a support centre within Varanasi for this population of children (Kiran is located about 20 km outside of Banaras). She wanted to work on early diagnosis of autism disorder, as it is still quite unheard of in India, and she wanted to include young children with Down's Syndrome in her project.

In November 2012, Mary thus opened a small centre called Child Guidance Clinic five mornings a week for two hours in a room of the Ramakrishna Mission Hospital (Luxa, Varanasi). Although Mary does speak basic Hindi in order to build a better relationship with children and parents, an Indian teacher was responsible for English-Hindi translation. Working with parents was crucial because most of the time they do not understand what is going on with their child.

The Child Guidance Clinic soon became too small, and eventually the need arose for a proper full-time school along with permanent educational and therapeutic support. Back in Geneva in Summer 2014, Mary founded the Swiss association Taaro ke Bacche which would financially support the Taaro ke Bacche school of Varanasi. Taaro ke Bacche means "children of the stars" in Hindi.

The school was inaugurated on 8th November 2014, with the support of Yogbodhi Trust.

A professional person has been named in charge whenever Mary is away from Varanasi.


Child Guidance Clinic (2012)

School inauguration on 8 November 2014

Who we are

"Mary"

Marie-Francoise Bisson ("Mary") is a retired special needs teacher and educational psychologist from Geneva (Switzerland). She worked in the Office Medico-Pédagogique in Geneva for 20 years. She is an expert in autism and has a considerable amount of experience with Down's syndrome.

Mary travelled to India for the first time in 1991. She loved it so much that since then she visited the country every year for holidays. After her retirement in 2009 she decided to spend 6 months every winter in Varanasi to carry on working with Indian children, and to raise awareness with regards to autism in this traditional city where it is greatly needed.



Mary
Mr. Mukesh

Mr. Mukesh is a full-time specialised educator. He received his training from Kiran Village
.

Dr. Mukesh
Mrs. Kusum

Mrs. Kusum is a full-time specialised educator.

Mrs. Kusum
Dr. Neela

Dr. Neela is a clinical psychologist with 4 years' experience at the Thakur Hari Prasad Institute (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh) and 4-year experience from Kiran Village. She comes to work with us two days a week.


Deepshikha

Deepshikha is a full-time specialised educator. She received her training from Kiran Village She started working with us in January 2017.


Deepshikha
Fanny

Fanny (Meera) is a Kathak dancer from Geneva. She has been training with Pt. Ravi Shankar Mishra for over 18 years and has been living in Varanasi throughout the school year since 2011. She teaches children in several schools in the city and performs on stage throughout Northern India. When she returns to Switzerland, she runs workshops in social and outdoor centres. For more information about her, you can visit her website.

Fanny joined us in the autumn 2017; she offers music discovery sessions to our children every second Wednesday.
Fanny
Vio

Vio is French. Married to an Indian citizen, she has been living in India for over 10 years. She lived in Varanasi from 2008 to 2015, studying Indian classical violin and Hindi. Today she is based in Khajuraho in the state of Madhya Pradesh, where she manages a homestay and is president of the association Friends in Khajuraho. She is also a teacher of English, Hindi and violin. She has been involved in many associations over the years, and before moving to India she lived in Scotland, working as a care worker for people with learning difficulties including adults with Down's syndrome and autism.

For our association, she works as Responsible for Media Communication, which mainly involves web design, newsletter design and translation.
Vio