With the aim of reaching 100% literacy, this village has started a school for its uneducated grandmothers.
A school that is open for only two hours a day, where the uniform is pink sarees and where all students are between the ages of 60 and 90. Welcome to Aajibaichi Shala (Grandmothers’ School).
Set up by Yogendra Bangar and the Motiram Dalal Charitable Trust, the school – located in Phangane, Thane – is perhaps India’s first school for uneducated grandmothers.
“We started this school to inculcate love and respect for the elderly,” Dilip Dalal, the founder of the Trust told Firstpost.
Yogendra Bangar – whose brain child the school is – says “Everybody in the village encouraged us, no one said a thing against the school. They said: ‘Nobody has done something like this before. Whatever you are doing is good for the society. We are with you.'”
“Knowledge has great importance in life. It is very important to educate these elderly people who never got an opportunity to go to school. We started this school to bring happiness to their lives and make the village 100 percent literate.”
Started on International Women’s Day this year, the school – at present – has 28 students.
Says 87-year-old student Ramabai Ganpat Chandelle, “”I am like a ripe fruit that might fall off the branch anytime. I couldn’t go to school as a child and remained illiterate all my life. But I don’t want to die illiterate. Now, I am happy that I would be able to carry a few words with me to the other world.”
“When I come back home, the grandchildren tell me, ‘Granny, this is how you write this,’ or ‘Granny, this is how you read this.’ They teach me everything. They sit and study along with me. It’s great fun. We read each other’s lessons. We read out poems to each other. We write our lessons… We are certainly happy that we became literate at this age,” says another student, Kantabai.
While literacy is the primary goal, the school also has other activities in the pipeline for the women: “We have planned some creative initiatives wherein they will be trained to make hand-woven quilts and paper bags,” said Bangar.