When these engineers took development of India as their responsibility
“Youth is the key to Development”
Generally, we all use to waste our time in finding the problems of society and blaming other’s for that problem but no one tries to solve that problem. A college student who understands his responsibility towards the society and nation took his first step towards this direction.
It was January, one of the coldest months of the year in central India. I went to a tea stall near my hostel room. While chatting with my friends and sipping a hot cup of tea, my eyes ran down to a boy standing few meters away from me. He was trying to steal samosas from the stall. After a few careful attempts, he was able to take 3 samosas and hide them inside his small bag. Before anyone could suspect, he ran away swiftly. I did not pay much attention to him as I was already getting late for my hostel.
Next day on the same stall, I saw him being scolded by a group of people. When enquired, I found out that he had been caught red-handed for stealing food. No one asked him the reason for his acts, nobody cared for his pain, rather they were busy scolding him. I went to him, paid his debt and bought him samosas to eat. On the very next day, when I saw him begging for food, I went to him and asked about his family, his home and his life. He told me his name was Shiva. His father was a drunkard who worked the whole day only to spend all his earnings on alcohol. His mother used to warn them their daily meal and the house rent- a common story of every slum in India. And the biggest victims of this poverty are those innocent, potentially talented and bright young kids who lose their childhood, forget to live and are forced to survive by indulging into petty thefts, at first, and heinous crimes, eventually.
But this kid motivated me to reach for a solution and not just complain about the problem. His hopeful, sunken eyes moved me. I thought why not to help kids like him study, and educate them so that they can earn a better living for themselves and their families.
With this idea and a group of individuals, mainly my hostel and college mates and a few well-established personnel, I started visiting nearby slum areas. We approached them with our plan to teach their kids from 10-12 am on weekends.
On conversing with the people, we came to know that the school provides a namesake of education; children are sent home after their midday meals and teachers do not pay attention to their actual subject knowledge. These schools often shut down on account of electric failures and even mild rains. With these issues at hand, we convinced about 40 families, constituting around 100 kids, to send their kids to us for proper education.
Full of enthusiasm, we started our first class the very next day. But now we faced the real challenge. Kids aged 12 or so, who were studying in 5th and 6th, didn’t even know basic science and mathematics. Reading a sentence or adding and subtracting numbers was an uphill task for these, so far, poorly educated kids. So we grouped them according to their age and class and started teaching them from scratch. After about 4 months of teaching, we noticed certain changes in them; they started studying willingly with interest and didn’t skip classes. They were able to make calculations at shops and grocery stores, avoiding the business loss at shops and kept a fair knowledge of the money spent by their parents too.
PROBLEMS AT THE BEGINNING-
At the slums of Bhopal and Indore, our biggest challenge was to encourage the kids to join us. These kids grew up playing stones and marbles given to them by their grandparents as the inheritance. The elders believed that education cannot change their kids’ future and it’s their fate to lead a miserable life; they are not meant to see the mystery and beauty of this life.
It took an enormous amount of patience and convincing power to explain to them how education can change their lives. How thousands of well-established people started from similar streets of a slum, studying beneath the same street lights and became successful professionals. We told them about some of our members who themselves belong to villages and are now officers, doctors, professors and engineers.
With proper awareness spread among all such slum areas, we eventually succeeded in bringing more kids to study. Many new members also joined us for this noble cause and we started more of such teaching centre’s at different slums across both Bhopal and Indore.
The UMEED (shelter house for Child Helpline kids) Centre, situated at Ayodhya Nagar in Bhopal has been our major workplace. It is a house where around 50 boys lead a peaceful and playful life but lack an adequate education. When they turn 18, they are asked to step out of the house and expected to sustain in this real world all on they’re own. But being untrained, they face a million problems. These kids are afraid of presenting their talents in front of others. Their confidence level has been shattered by the social evils they have been facing since their childhood.
So, encouraging them is what is needed the most and here lies the importance of what we do. We teach them to strengthen their basics, develop in them the skills that help them earn their living, inspire them to perceive higher goals in life and guide them to walk on the right path. We focus the most upon boosting up their confidence. We cheer them up with our presence on festivals like Diwali, Raksha Bandhan, Dusshera, New Year and many more. Our group organizes a one-month dance training session for them where we provide them with choreographers too. And it gives immense pleasure to see them dancing around, expressing their inner joys and exhibiting their talents to so many people who visit them.
Once a parent said, “what would happen if these children excel in studies but still do not get a job?”It was a startling remark that made me question the basic purpose of providing these kids with education. So, we decided to teach them multi-functional skills along with imparting textbook knowledge so that they can have multiple domains to earn their livelihood from.
With this motive, a two-month summer camp at all centers was started and around 300 children benefitted from it. We gave them training for drawing, painting, rangoli, paper craft. Sports activities like cricket, football, kho-kho, kabaddi, etc. and yoga lessons were also available for them. We also took them to regional science centre to enrich them with the latest scientific developments and instill a curiosity for science.
NAVODAYA ENTRANCE TEST PREPARATION-
There are a lot of parents who cannot afford any of the educational needs of their ward. Although the government provides them with food, clothes and books but even then educating their child is a huge expense for their parents. But what if they stay somewhere else and have a good education for themselves? Navodaya schools seemed a good option.
For economically weak children, Navodaya schools provide food, lodging and education. So we prepare about 50 students at different centres for the same so that their education shall no more be a burden to their parents. With continuous classes, training and tests, we target to enroll at least 30 of them to navodaya schools all over our state.
Our encouragement means a lot to the tiny tots who are trying hard to break the chains of poverty and alleviate their upcoming generations from the wrath of it.Their cheered up faces, the million dollar smiles on receiving gifts and prizes on their hard work encourages us to work harder in the future. We felicitate them on dance, song, painting competitions, quiz and sports too. Many of our students now excel in their school level competitions and have improved their grades a lot.
Not just a few kids in the town, we wish to help millions of men, women and children who have been the victims of the economic disparity in our country, who have been butchered and harassed by demons of hunger and helplessness. We wish that thousands of established professionals should join us and, at least, ake out an hour, twice a week and help us change the way things are here in India.
Education is, in fact, the biggest donation anyone can give, because it would be with the child forever. He may use it to teach others or earn his own needs. A clean India, a better India – all dreams can be accomplished if we have an educated nation. So Join hands and march forward with us to achieve this feat.
Join Hands To Serve…