What happens in the village of Hoshiyarpur at the stroke of five, as daylight gives way to dusk?
Learning coupled with fun!
These aren’t the usual tuition classes or coaching centres that make children dread the thought of studying itself, but a gathering of 20 residents, and 70 children, who share a collective interest towards education that comes with lot of fun and frolic!
Vidya Vistar, as the initiative is called, is a campaign led by Sarvahitey, an NGO that believes in enhancing the basic living conditions of the underprivileged.
For two hours, the children are taught by a group consisting of students, lawyers, engineers and BPO employees, who engage the children in interactive activities to help stimulate their critical thinking abilities, four days a week. The lessons are entirely free of cost.
Falling under an age group of 5 to 14, most of these children go to government schools, while some stay at home. The parents of the children, who are predominantly working as daily-wage labourers, make sure that their children never miss these special classes and also keep tab on their progress, according to Hindustan Times.
“We think we can encourage others also to do so (teach underprivileged kids) in their locality or start such an initiative of their own. Everyone has a little time to spare in a day, which they can use to change others’ lives for the better. If people put their efforts, our education system will prosper, “ Keshav Datta, a lawyer and volunteer in the programme.
Apart from regular studies, children are also taught soft skills and spoken English.
Started two years earlier, the number of children has slowly risen from 20 to 70. A 25-year-old lawyer at Delhi high court, Datta initiated the project, under the aegis of Sarvahitey, in 2015 along with his friends. The volunteers believe that taking a note from their initiative, more people will be inspired to take up initiatives for underprivileged children in other parts of Noida.
The volunteers added that their efforts are aimed towards bridging the gap between the poor and the privileged. “It is also important for us to ensure that the children are learning. We also take care of their extracurricular activities. We want people in other areas also to take steps to teach students,” Tapasvini Sahu, a homemaker and volunteer, told the newspaper.
Though learning here takes fun as a must-have, the volunteers also conduct tests from time to time, making sure that the children are able to apply the lessons they’re being taught!
According to HT, the children look forward towards these classes. “We cannot afford computers or laptops. At the education centre, we have access to these gadgets, with the help of volunteers. It helps us compete and also generates interest in studies,” 12-year-old Deepak Yadav said.
Apart from providing stationery for the children on a monthly basis, the volunteers also buy clothes for them during festivals. The idea of gifting loved ones, festive attire is an age-old practice and the volunteers at Sarvahitey articulate their affection for the students in these kind gestures!
To get in touch with Sarvahitey, click here.