The village of Dallu Pura is located on the outskirts of the Trans-Yamuna region of Delhi. It is a part of the Delhi NCR region. Chintan runs twenty learning centres in this region. While on a day to day basis, our team working in the region might encounter a number of inspiring stories, however, few are as empowering as this one.
Sonam Kumari has been a student of our learning centre for two years. She comes from a family of waste pickers. Her parents are migrants who came to Delhi in search of work and started living in a slum ‘Dallu Pura’. In the absence of any other means of livelihood, they started waste picking. The parents have two children, including Sonam and another daughter. In spite of her sibling not sharing the same interest, Sonam always had a keen interest in studies. She was admitted in the nearby Rajkiya Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya and is presently studying in class sixth.
As part of our learning centre infrastructure, we give students access to a small library. The library has turned out to be a treasure trove for Sonam. Being a part of these classes and having access to the library has not only helped her improve her academic performance but has also helped nurture a knack for reading books.
During some of my regular visits to the centre, I observed that she was engaged in reading storybooks and surely, developing a reading habit has helped her as a person. While the learning centre support helped in improving her academic performance, the library nurtured her soul. During one of my many scheduled visits to the learning centre, I was pleasantly surprised to see her sitting in a corner engrossed in her books.
In the course of the next few months, I observed subtle changes in her behaviour. There has been a significant improvement in her confidence, diction and command of the language. She is often seen encouraging her peers to read more books.
She beams with confidence and her diction is improving. Sonam actively participates in all the library sessions and also encourages other children to read.
This small change in Sonam’s personality made me profoundly ponder the impact of minuscule changes. It’s heartening to see that library sessions at the centre can boost the confidence level of children. Access to a small library is all it took for a little girl to feel confident. Our libraries are stocked with a wide range of books and periodicals on different subjects. Most of the education materials are beyond the purchasing capacity of the families of these children. The availability of various books on life skills and skills of daily living is helping the children develop life skills, which will be beneficial in shaping their personality, required to compete with other children with confidence in life.
In my brief conversation with Sonam, she shared her aspirations of becoming a teacher, barely does she know that she has already become one!
About the Author:
Rajneesh monitors operations in Chintan’s No Child in Trash programme. With over 15 years of experience in managing field operations, he has a graduate degree in Humanities.