Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Slumteacher

The Slum School- In Conversation with Sarita Vaidya

Sewabharathi (सेवा भारती) is a non-governmental organization in India. It works among the economically weaker sections and the tribal and indigenous communities in India. It runs thousands of service projects across India in the field of education, health care, rural development and rehabilitation of differently abled and special needs children. The organization runs a small office in the Mandi town of Himachal Pradesh. Long ago I got to know about a lady running a single-room school in the slums of the town. An hour long conversation that happened between us became an unforgettable memory of my life. A 49 year old lady teaching in the slums with a single aim to make a change in their lives is surely an eye opener. She expects that times will change because she has seen things changing in her life. She hopes that someday the educated youth of this country will consider education as a career option because if anything needs to be improved in our country then it is the educational system, which is not possible without the participation of young blood and that too out of choice.
When did you start with this center?
We started off with the center on 28 December 2006. I was going through a very rough phase and I could not see any light in my life. As they say good and bad are complementary to each other, it was my turn to see the better side of life. I met Mr. Sansar Chand, who was the then Head of Sewa Bharthi Mandi. It was from him I got to know about the task of teaching in the slums and I instantaneously said yes. As I was going back from the office I was wondering about what I had said in the office. The notoriety of those slums had reached my ears and now I was worried because teaching kids was one thing and dealing with their parents, who were drunk and abusive most of the times was another thing altogether.
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