Every other day, during the course of your life, there comes along something that warms your heart and melts it like butter. One of the days, I was visiting one of the branches of my office. Right outside the branch at a corner, I noticed few kids assembled and segregated in groups sitting on mats. A lot of buzz and the normal chatter comprising of regular classroom activity made the place sound like a beehive. It completely looked like a ‘happy place’.
I simply could not hold my inquisitive self and asked one of my colleagues about it. They explained that some classes for the under privileged children were conducted here. I needed to know more. I patiently kept a watch for them to wrap up for the day from my office window. Once they were about to conclude, I stepped out to get more information on the program. I happened to meet Mr. Ramesh Raut and Mr. A.C. Nadar who runs a NGO by the name of ‘Prayas’ founded in 2008. The outfit helps street children with various educational programs so that they can learn to live an independent life. It kick started with 6 students and today they teach an average of 250 students per day, which is awesome, I think!
Presently, they have two schools and aim to launch as many required to accommodate street children who can be saved from social ills. Along with life training skills they teach Basic English and Math and aim to provide scholarships for the deserving students. Students from Grade 1 to Grade 11 are accommodated in the small little corner right on the roadside. The classes are held from 9 am to 11 am after which the students leave for their respective community/government run schools. Many volunteers from around the area have stepped forward to donate funds and lend support in teaching the kids. A light mid session snack is also offered to the students, which is donated by Iskon temple thrice a week.
This Republic Day, they held a social event for the children where a stage was set and deserving children were felicitated for their achievement in studies. A cultural event was put up involving the students. Mr. Raut very proudly showed me the pictures, which he somehow could not transfer over to me so I am unable to share them here. But the energy displayed in the pictures was commendable.
Through this post, I simply aim to bring forth the small baby steps certain people are taking to make sure goodness prevails in the society. I did not see anything beyond that! To me the joy in the eyes of the children when they saw me clicking their pictures was heartening. The pride they took in singing the National Anthem when they concluded their class made me believe in them. The way they interacted with their teachers with respect showed me that virtues could be taught anywhere. It does not take a room full of projects and charts; glazed furniture, colorful walls and elaborate worksheets…dreams can be born anywhere. And who knows how far they can really grow. All they need is a bit of encouragement and support. And, a whole lot of love!
The NGO is a small outfit right now and does not have much visibility. Their registered office is at Glory, Yashodhan Apts., J.P. Road, 4 Bunglows, Andheri West (Mumbai) and their project address is Shastri Nagar, New Link Road, Goregaon (W), Mumbai. Any person interested to volunteer can contact the members listed below:
Mr. Ramesh Raut: 9970708246
Mr. A.C. Nadar : 9892238898
Mrs. Chaturvedi 9920191199
Mr. Ramnikbhai Shah: 9820511994
Mr. Mukherjee: 9324404046
Linking this to Ultimate Blog Challenge– January 2014
Image Courtesy: Google