2007.. A Journey

Last year was pretty eventful for Prayas. We tried lots of things- achieved many short term goals and missed many. But we all remained committed to our long term goal to provide light of education to unprivileged children of community at Naya Bans, Sector 16 Noida. We hope to empower this community through education and help them to get rid from suffering caused by ignorance and lack of education. We believe we can educate a whole family by educating a kid from that family.

We began 2007 with Republic Day celebration. Prayas family was big 50 girls and around 25 boys. Evening classes were conducted for girls and night classes for boys. But by May number of children dwindled to 13-16. Worried by the setback we visited community and talked with community elders and students’ parents. This approach helped us in increasing the number of children, their attendance and motivation level.

By comparison, month of July was the most successful. The most significant achievement was admission of 25 children in government school. Second achievement was arrangement of regular classes at government school. Most of the credit of these goes to Anuradha who not only met regularly with school officials for admission purpose but also made sure that we get a room for evening classes. In this month we also conducted a health camp with the help from Gurgaon based Corporate Executive Board.

August brought many unexpected challenges. The village pradhan of Naya Baans stopped us from taking evening classes at school on pretext that we don’t have permission. We tried to move back to moon light public school. But they also refused. Moreover at government school we had influx of great number of students who would think these classes as tuition or simply would come for fun. Needless to say present of such students didn’t help. During this time we also faced problem in conducting night classes for adult student as we had only two volunteers for that.

So by the end of August we had problems, challenges, problems and challenges. But these problems and challenges helped us in focusing our efforts. We knew where we wanted to go and we had to choose a path to reach there considering our resources and circumstances. We redefined our short term goal as success of 24 children that we admitted in school in their respective class. We planned and organized a workshop so that volunteers could train and teach children better. As both government and Moonlight school denied us a room, we shifted back to community.

We changed our approach too. We started maintaining attendance register and rewarding regular and good performer class. Our students were lacking fluency in language, which was hampering their understanding of world around them and stopping them form expressing them clearly. Vijay bhaiya guided us and we also realized that without language skills our children wouldn’t be able to compete. Darshan took the lead and started a crusade to teach children Matra and Barahkhadi. Of course he got many foot soldiers to fight along with him.

After high of September, came low of October. Volunteers were not regular and efforts were not getting consolidate in a direction. Then in the early November the angry lady Neha reminded us how we are neglecting duty toward Prayas. Although we all had reasons and excuses, this reprimand opens eyes of some of the most regular volunteers in Prayas. Lastly, we had great celebration of Diwali with kids.
December was altogether a different month. We discussed, argued and introspect like never before. Arun summarized our expectation from children in two lines.
1. Every Child will be capable of expressing and sharing her / his thought process in a refined and fluent manner. 2. She / he will be physically and mentally fit to stand as role models in the community, for other children and parents.

Aim for 2008 ( Using Ruchi’s words)
· We are looking towards making serious amends to the existing scenario, which would mean.- A full-time Teacher be dedicated to the kids (salaried, of course!). It has become almost a priority. If anyone f you know of someone who can live up to the responsibility, we will like you to recommend the name.
· Currently, we are inclined towards sending some of the deserving kids to a regular school (read Nayi Disha). We’ll be identifying the kids who can be groomed for it (in a matter of 3months); also the feasibility of the whole subject, which includes permissions from the school, as well as the parents permission for letting their children go that far. This is a far-fetched goal, no plans so far only a vision which has to be developed!


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