A new beginning for 60 kids & a highly fulfilling personal experience
Friday was a truly fulfilling day. It was also a day of new learning and many heart wrenches. We have been approached by some government school teachers that we have trained in our Education Transformation Centre, to help them save their school. Their school is a very one but is at the risk of closing down because most of their students have gone to other private schools. This is a Telugu school and there aren’t any Telugu families in the slums nearby. The highly dedicated government school teachers together with their Principal have been sourcing out slums with Telugu speaking families and wanted us to visit them. When anyone in Parikrma hears of students not going to school, we are compelled to respond. That is in the Parikrma DNA and that is the very reason we were born.
So, I went to visit this slum several kilometers away with a few of my colleagues. We whispered quietly that everything there reminded us exactly of how Parikrma began 15 years ago. We visited 320 slums in the city then, walked through little lanes, walked past swelling drains and met up with families under trees in a temple yard or a room in a church. Yesterday we met in a community hall. We had to wait a bit because the women were busy filling water from the common taps that supplied water every alternate day. We saw lines of colourful plastic water pots lined up for their turn in the queue. This is such a common sight in most slums. What is also common is the expression of despair in many faces when the water does not come or clearly is not enough. So the mothers were torn between two important things in their lives…water for the family and the education of their children. There were many men there either taking a nap inside the 100 sq feet house or loitering around with other men.
The meeting began at 6pm. We somehow crammed in around 80 mothers and fathers in this small room, the largest in the entire slum. We explained to them what we were there for, and shared with them our story. By the end we had enrolled 60 children for the government school. We promised to organise transport to ferry the kids to the school. And all the time I kept wondering how we could garner support to make that happen. Sixty children’s future had to be decided there and then. So, there is a new beginning for these children, their families, this government school and new relationships for Parikrma.