“It takes a village to raise a child.”
Don’t we all wish to be in a place where we can be just us, fail, make mistakes, create something new and cherish each other’s creations and failures?
I am delighted to share a story about two young men who are giving their all to create such spaces for people in the slums of Ahmedabad. Hrishikesh Patil and Chaitanya Endluri gave up their fancy jobs to join the Teach For India fellowship and spent two years teaching in a low-income school in Chandola community of Ahmedabad.
Now they are working to create recreational community centres in the slums of Ahmedabad.
Here’s their story in their own words.
A few months back, Rehan told Ankita didi – “There is no alignment in what I study in school and what my tuition teacher asks me to do, and there is no time for me to do what I want to, it is stressful.” The crux of this small chat lingered in our minds for a very long time until we decided to do something about it.
We are alumni of Teach for India, passionate about making education-equity a reality. We want to explore the meaning of education beyond classrooms. A child spends two-thirds of their time in the community. So why not make community the unit of change to foster a holistic upbringing of our country’s future – our kids?
The idea of a space to explore, learn, unlearn from each other and creating safe environment together seemed to be a probable answer for Rehan’s query. Roots and Wings is one such attempt to answer the queries of many Rehans, their didis and parents, where kids explore their interests, re-learn what’s been taught in school with their peers, understand the community that they live in, try and solve community-related problems through fun-filled projects, unleash their talents in various art forms and sports.
Phase 1 of Roots and Wings kicked off this year in January. Our main areas of focus are:
Academics – Kids relearn things taught in school. It looks similar to tuitions except here students are the teachers and have access to internet, tabs, books and lot of resources.
3Rs – Recycle, Reuse, and Re-invent where kids learn about waste, waste management, simple recycling ways like DIY projects to reusing the waste in their homes.
Future Planning – Kids plan their academic career to make their dreams come true. Road maps of their academic journey, challenges that they may face, whom to reach out, opportunities, scholarships, courses (online and offline) are some of the key focus areas.
Passion – Kids are exposed to different visual art forms, they have the freedom to choose whatever they want to learn then make it as their hobby. They get chance to interact with people who have made their hobbies as passion and pursue them as a career.
But hey! Quitters never win and winners never quit!
We are currently using our school space as a centre. We plan to start three centres in our neighbouring communities to broaden our impact and reach out to 15,000 families.