ByÂ Saumyata Joshi:
The world knows how to straighten out a spoiled child but never makes it up to a child deprived ~ Robert Brault
Childhood is the foundation of an individual’s life. A house with a weak foundation is not only dangerous for its inhabitants but also for the nearby houses. Similarly, a child who lacks the foundation comprising of education and morals becomes a threat to the society and flouts rules at every possible point of his life. It becomes a moral responsibility of the privileged class to extend a helping hand to other people.
Education, not literacy is the greatest gift one can give another. Akshara is a team comprising of 12 young enthusiastic girls with the simple vision of doing their bit for the society. The team focuses on issues of child and women welfare in the neighbouring area of Vasundhara Enclave, Delhi. The team members are college students and after their college hours teach a bunch of around 50- 60 children in the college ground itself. Teaching these kids makes you realize how significant the smallest of things in life are. Hidden secrets of life and happiness lie in the dearth of imagination. Many of them are unaware as to what is exactly meant by a birthday, so knowing one’s birth day is out of question. When one has grown up amidst luxuries then it is difficult to comprehend the depth of insufficiency. These kids teach you more than they learn from you. Teaching becomes fun when for two whole hours every day the campus resounds with the loud chanting of all the rhymes and hymns.
India being a democratic country offers equal rights and opportunities to all its citizens. Right to Education being one of the fundamental rights should be availed by one and all. No doubt that with the recent government ventures and policies, thousands of children were put in schools with the famous candy of ‘the mid-day meal’ scheme. The central problem lies in the fact that we ensure that the child reaches school building but we forget to assure whether any sort of knowledge is being imparted to him/her or not. Thus the whole idea of education gets blemished with debauchery and pretensions. In an educational survey conducted by the team in the nearby government schools, it was quite shocking to find that all the enrolled students hardly attend classes owing to the violence of the enrolled goons of the school. The team is working in that area with the help of local authorities.
It is the ground reality of most of the government schools that in the name of primary education, simply nothing at all is offered to children. The main reason for this inadequacy in the system is due to lack of teachers and negligence of available teachers. Hooliganism and other vehement forces thriving in these schools deprive the children who really want to study. A psychometric test (technique of psychological measurement, which includes the measurement of knowledge and abilities) was conducted by the team on these children to know their strengths and weaknesses. It was pleasantly surprising that so many of them were artists, excellent painters, young crafty ingenious minds, though not that good in studies. The concept of ‘Play in Education’ does wonders for these children. The overwhelming feeling when one young mind remarked that “Didi mein bahut mehnat karke aapke he college mein dakhila lunga” (Ma’am I will work very hard and take admission in your college), made the girls speechless. These kids just require that slight spark of encouragement which can propel them to heights of success and happiness. Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
An organization isn’t required to change the society; individual efforts have always amazed the world. The team does not wish to change itself into an organization rather they are the harbinger of a social change. Akshara meaning ‘the imperishable’ is a movement to change young lives for a better future of the society and India at large. The only fault is that these kids were born poor but they have the same zeal and vigour to do something great with their lives. If poverty is that wide terrifying river between the children and success then Akshara is a bridge over this dark river, helping these young ignited minds to reach the other side where sanguine joy and sunshine pervades. Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.