Tushar Mehrotra is a student of Class 10 at Pathways World School in Gurugram. As part of the curriculum, all students in his class are asked to take up an individual project, which they have to enquire into, act upon, and follow up with a report submission. While different students took up projects of their choice, Tushar was struck with the idea of doing something for children who come from underprivileged backgrounds.
Tushar initially decided to donate books to Government Primary School in Sector 54, Gurgaon.
However, when he saw the facilities and infrastructure there, he realised there was a lot more he needed to do.
In a conversation with The Better India, Tushar says, “I must confess that when I started working on my project, I did not envision the outcome that it has taken. My first visit to the school left me an intense need to do something about the condition in which the students were attending school. I realised that I could make the environment in which they were trying to study comfortable, and that is what I decided my project would be about.”
While working towards his project, Tushar realised that the effort he was willing to put in went way beyond just the mandated school project. He says, “I began by collecting funds for the school. One of the biggest enablers has been technology – after finding a government school I wanted to work with, I got the number of the principal from the Internet, and from there my project took off.”
Initially, Tushar spent time in the school trying to understand from the students what they wanted. Tushar started by inculcating reading habits in the students.
He began conducting story-telling sessions and encouraged the students to participate in these meetings.
“The initial investment came from my savings. I then started collecting money from my parents and a crowd-sourcing platform online. The funds raised were used for installing 6 fans, distributing 600 notebooks, and getting a water purifier. I am now working towards providing the students with winter clothing,” he says.
The school has about 130 students, and Tushar endeavours to provide them with opportunities and a sound infrastructure to give them a chance at succeeding. “I also want this step of mine to be an inspiration for others to adopt schools, even if it is just one class. The sense of ownership and responsibility that comes with adopting a school is not something you will feel with merely providing monetary assistance.”
So how can you adopt a school? Balvinder Singh, the principal of a government school in Gurugram, says, “My request to anyone who wishes to adopt a school or a classroom is always only one thing – come and see the condition in which most of these schools operate, and you will automatically know what we need.”
He says that most government schools operate under terrible conditions. The need for notebooks, stationery, and clean drinking water is present all year round.
The person who wishes to help needs to contact the government school principal and get their permission. Most government schools are very encouraging and forthcoming in allowing people to help and adopt schools and classrooms. We also encourage people to come and spend time teaching these kids. They learn a lot from the experiences shared by others.”
“Saturdays are reserved for activities, and the students usually attend school without their school bags; those who wish to teach them dance, music, play a sport with them are encouraged to come on Saturdays.”
With a process as simple as this, we urge our readers to come forward and take ownership and responsibilities of classes, if not an entire school. Do let us know if you decide to take this up.
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