14th September 2009, a new initiative was born.
"Saral". Simple. Powerful.
The background or the force behind this initiative was as simple and evident as its name.
Institute of Management, Nirma University has many sites within the university campus which are under construction. Workers who work there, hence, tend to form settlements around the campus. These construction workers have been here for a long time now and as the construction work continues, it is definite that they will be here for quite sometime.
These construction workers have children who are seen playing around the campus. These kids are deprived of the basic facilities, leave alone basic education and most of them have never even seen school. Many of them do not even know of the name of the city they live in. The girls in the house majorly take care of the housework and do not have anything else to do. These kids thronged the tennis courts and the basketball courts during games and always showed interest for involvement.It was clearly seen that these kids needed to be provided basic education but they had never had a gateway for entrance.
To facilitate this entrance, ‘Saral’ was born.
The initiative took its first steps by talking to the family members and convincing them to involve their children in education. A good response wasn’t received in the start but as there was no restrictions on the kids and with persistent efforts from the Saral members, the kids were brought under the arm.
The sessions commenced with simple games which focussed on both the physical and mental development of the kids. For example, the kids were made to form circles and count alternatively in Hindi and English – ‘Ek Two Teen Four’. This not only added the ‘fun’ element but also helped increase their concentration.
Later, as the rapport between the kids and the Saral members built up, studies were introduced. Oral recitations were begun with information given on the nation’s name, the city’s name, counting on fingers, poems. General etiquette such as greeting the elders every morning was also incorporated in the study schedule. Basic cleanliness such as washing hands before every meal was advised.
Due to this, many children have become regular students, and they also have improved exponentially from not knowing anything to reciting poems, to being able to count and speak days of the week.
The classes are held every day for one to one and half hours (from 1745 hrs to 1915 hrs) everyday with Sundays being fun days when cartoons are shown on laptops to the children. Saral is now implementing the formal way of teaching with proper boards, distributing notebooks etc. It plans to continue this well charted out plan and implement its objective.
As the prayer that is said at the end of every session goes:
“Hey bhagwaan, do vardaan, padh likhke, hum bane mahan !”