Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and citizens of tomorrow. - Jawahar Lal Nehru
When I was in school, I remember we would celebrate Nehru’s birthday with pomp and show and had big community lunch. Teachers and headmasters who were strict year round served us our meal and we would feel really special. Even today, we get SMS and messages wishing us Children’s day.
The idea of this celebration is to honor children and the first Prime Minister of India. This is the day to celebrate childhood. Celebrate those who are free spirited, loving, hopeful and the future.
It is extremely sad to know and acknowledge that there is a major group of children which is being pushed in darkness of slavery and child labor, missing their growth years due to poverty or illiteracy.
However, today isn’t the day to be gloomy and sad. There are many organizations, governmental or NGO, registered or non-registered groups that are working to re-kindle the light of education and hope in these children.
I came across one such small group of volunteers through a Self Help Group, who help children continue their education after they have finished their primary schooling.
In the absence of mid-level schools (1st to 5th grade) in the village, these kids, especially girls are forced to discontinue their education because they are unable to go to a school which maybe two-five km away from their homes. These kids are eventually fed into the world of household chores or support parents as labor. Soon, these kids forget their dreams of being educated and start taking independent work as a labor or artisans. Worse case, they are forced into early marriages or become the unemployed uneducated unruly lot.
This is not to sham the government initiatives, but a bitter reality.
“Hands” a Self Help Group formed in the community of adda workers in a village called Faridpur in Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh, decided to not have their children the same fate as theirs. The members of the group, with support of a local NGO run a community school in villages so that the children can continue their schooling till 5th grade and then go back to a proper school nearby.
On 12th November, I got a chance to visit them and interact with the group. What I heard from them was wonderful. There are two schools in the region. They are run by volunteers and paid teachers. Volunteers, on their weekly off day collect funds from local society to purchase books, furniture or pay teacher’s salary. The education in these schools is free of cost and most of the children are ex-child workers.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” Ernest Hemingway.
Therefore, a group of Write Tribe members decided to donate books to the school in case we all agree.
We can also look at the possibility of donating some furniture for these children, since winter fast approaching it gets tough for them to sit on floor and study.
I am leaving you with a few pictures and an invitation to come forward and donate a small amount if you may please. Feel free to contact me for suggestion or inquiry. If nothing else, do drop a comment to let me know what your thoughts are