The most common response we get to hear, to anything which requires attention is ‘This is India!’, ‘The system needs to be fixed. Nothing can happen till then!’ How many of us actually give a thought to what we can do about it? People will probably think you are a fool if you ask them about the same – ‘Arre! Amn’t I paying taxes? So there, I have done my bit ofcourse.’
But there are few who don’t think so, and the world thrives because of them. It is not actually difficult to pitch in with whatever we can, is it? It not only helps the needy, but actually helps our own selves to remain positive and calm. Imagine trying to find solutions when you see such a thing instead of cribbing about it? That’s exactly what Latha did.
While construction their new house in Poorna Prajna layout in Bengaluru, she found many kids of the construction workers whiling away their time playing all day long, without caring for the sun or the rain, and in worst cases getting introduced to bad habits too! That is when she decided to pitch in and start teaching these kids on her own. The nature of their parents’ migratory job makes it difficult to enroll them in formal schools. Also, having never been exposed to anything like a book, slate or a pen, these kids need all the personal attention they can get to groom them.
Latha is just like any other person you know – a techie, a mother who quit her job to spend more time with her daughter, a home-maker with her home really well made and a gracious host! She made me feel at home in our very first meet. Latha has been running the non-formal school for about 3 yrs now – 2 full years all alone and now with some more home-makers in the locality whole-heartedly supporting her, in a roofed and otherwise minimally covered shed which belongs to a temple in the locality. She has got ISKCON’s Akshaya Patra to provide the mid-day meals for the kids. She has visited every single labourer’s house personally to convince them to send their kids to school and about 25 out of the 30-35 families now do so! I could see for myself how much the kids love their school. They came running to her house before time asking her to come to school. They have no way of seeing the time no 🙂 She was saying they come about an hour in advance on some days! They came running with their home assignments and I was amazed to see the developments. It seems they love doing their homework; may be a way to escape from doing the ‘home work’ !?!
All in all, this made me more convinced that each of us doing our bit can indeed bring about a change. Latha says she is inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s words ‘If children don’t come to schools, the schools should go to them’ and has lived by the very words.
Here are a few pics from her school:
The day begins with a prayer. Can you spot the little kiddo there? Yes, most students come with 1-2 in tow. The main reason their parents don’t want to send them to school! Who will take care of the little ones then?
The classes begin. They recite what they learnt in the last class.
Running to ‘Latha miss’ to show their homework