Many children stay in shelter homes, leaving their families and villages, to pursue an education. But what happens to them after school?
Volunteers have been earnestly working to cultivate the lower social strata into a garden of high esteem; a garden of knowledge, confidence and self-sustenance. In this regard, one significant programme of Bhumi, among many, is mentoring children in shelter homes. This project, which Bhumi calls ‘Lakshya’, aims to provide life skills and guide the children in understanding their own strengths and in defining an identity for themselves.
Govind, Rahul and Santosh resided in a home run by Bhartiya Adimjati Sewak Sangh in Delhi where Bhumi started its mentoring project in the year 2016. The home provides a shelter for children from remote villages and economically backward families and supports their education till class 10. With time, Bhumi volunteers observed that some of the children were lagging behind in their academics and had no ambitions for their futures. The children were ‘ignorant and unrefined’ owing to their rough upbringing and to having undergone more than what children should have to, and the challenges were evident to the volunteers. Even though the original structure of the mentoring project had only weekend classes, one of the volunteers, Mr. Himanshu, started teaching these children daily. He assisted them in school subjects as well as provided thoughtful guidance for setting goals. The determination and enthusiasm of one volunteer became contagious, attracting more volunteers of Lakshya to support the classes.
“It is a proud moment for all of us. It is a great feeling that these kids are proceeding towards a better future and that we (volunteers) have contributed for it,” says Ms. Lakhbir, content with Lakshya team’s accomplishment.
The volunteers had several patient discussions with the children to understand their plans for the future. They gave empathetic attention to each child regarding possible career options based on their interests. During the process they identified three children who wanted to opt for Diploma degrees in engineering after class 10. The children had to endure many hurdles to achieve this. The first was to improve their academic knowledge and with daily coaching assistance, this slowly came through. This was definitely not easy; they had to withstand the test of concentration and dedication. Second, the home permitted stay of children only till class 10 exams. They are on their own after the last exam of class 10. So these three children feared that they would be stranded once again. Bhumi volunteers approached the home and convinced them, with great efforts, to allow the children to stay until their admissions. The next hurdle was the entrance exam, which these students cleared with decent scores.
Unexpected troubles came up during the admission process. The children had to submit caste certificates from Delhi government as per admission rules, while they had the certificates issued from their respective states. It takes months to transfer the caste certificate from one state to another. But the concerned government officials were kind enough to speed up the process and issue the certificates in just few days. Volunteers took the responsibility of accompanying children for their admissions process all along.
“… I am very happy that I got admission in the government college. The volunteers helped a lot … I convey my profound thanks to them. I am very happy,” Santosh smiles with happiness.
Many volunteers played key roles in this journey, few of whom are Himanshu, Lakhbir Kaur, Urvashi, Narender, Ronil, Mikki and Sneh. Though they were working, they took turns and ensured that one or the other member from the team was available for the children’s daily coaching till admissions. All three children got into reputed Polytechnic colleges in Delhi and are all set to start their journey towards a better tomorrow.
Ms. Urvashi is delighted and shares, “Teaching these kids have not only lead to their betterment, but also helped us in gaining confidence. It is by the team’s collective effort and determination that we were able to overcome the obstacles.”
The journey has motivated other children in the shelter home to focus their energy on education and to dream big. They are now in a streamlined path and tend to meander much less. They left a miraculous wake that influences others to dream and achieve.
Imagine the downpour of joy that could result when more youngsters come forward to volunteer towards making better future!