Our Village – Rattar Chhattar, Gurdaspur District, Punjab, India

Rattar Chhattar is a remote village 4km from the India-Pakistan border. The village with an area of 700 acres of primarily agrarian land has 722 inhabitants comprising 370 males and 352 females in 132 households.

Before the 1947 Partition of British India, the population of the village was dominated by Muslim residents. Following the exodus of the Muslim population to Pakistan, the current population is predominatly Sikhs with a few Muslims, Christians and Hindus who live harmoniously together.

The village has two Sikh temples (Gurdwaras), a church and an old muslim mosque. The village is renowned for its preservation of a 300 year old Roja Sharif shrine constructed by a Sufi leader Sain Mian Mir. There are annual celebrations which draw visitors to the shrine.

Despite the occurence of cross-border firing and shelling, the village is peaceful. The main source of income is derived from agriculture. However, usage of fertilisers and pesticides to maximise output has impacted the environment.

The majority of inhabitants are farmers and have very basic living standards. Approximately 60% of the inhabitants live close to the poverty line. The village has 68% literacy level which is below the Punjab state average of 76%.

Socrates International Academy aims to address the challenges to illiteracy in the area. It aims to instill in its inhabitants the importance of education as a passport to a higher standard of living. It also seeks to emphasise the importance of caring for the environment. The goal is to provide both hard and soft skills to arm the students with ability to operate as productive citizens within or outside the village.