Future India in West Bengal – Rajib’s Experience

“Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world” ~ Nelson Mandela

At the risk of stating the obvious, it would still make sense to highlight the fact that the future of any country depends on its children. How they get access to quality education, study materials, books that would fire up their imagination and shape their dreams, should not depend upon where they live, which economic layer they belong to or who were their ancestors.

And the Future India team precisely does that. It works with the schools, the administrators, teachers and children primarily in the rural areas and ensures that their educational needs are taken care of. Its a small team of working professionals who has the common goal of giving back to the society from where they received so much. No child should give up on going to school. That is the dream of Future India.

FutureIndia1

In this album we cover the recent Future India Project in some villages in West Bengal…the Journey started 4 years back and we are happy to share with you the progress the Team has made.

With the students we talked about the life of APJ Abdul Kalam – the son of a poor farmer who became a Rocket Scientist and then the President of India.

We met Wondergirl Payo – She is in the habit of winning, whether it’s a race she is running or being the best in the studies in her class. She wants to become an Astronaut when she grows up. She loves to sing and dance whenever she gets a chance. The fact that she does not have a pair of slippers or a bed to sleep on, does not deter her from having Fire in her Wings!

FutureIndia5

We met a Primary School Teacher who donates 50 per cent of his salary every month so that 120 boys and girls like Payo can live in the ashram and continue to go to school. He is doing a commendable job of supporting these kids whose parents are migrant laborers, working in distant cities and can hardly afford to educate their kids. An inspiration for all of us.

FutureIndia2

The Main Administrator of the school has dedicated his life for the cause of these children. He has been working with the children from his student days. A man of great ideas, vision and energy. He is the eldest in a family of six brothers and along with taking care of all the children, he takes care of his brothers and their families too. We are honored to work with him.

FutureIndia4

We met a grandfather like figure – a poet with an exceptional memory. He is part of a long generation of poets who composes poetry about the lives of people, their struggle, their love, their hopes and dreams. Despite his wavering vision and old age, he is willing to walk or bicycle any number of miles for his poetry. Some he writes and many he has memorized from his ancestors. He has offered more poems on our next trip.

FutureIndia3

We would also like to express our gratitude and sincere thanks to all the well wishers, supporters, contributors, literally from across the world, without whom this progress would not have been possible.

Hope you like the progress we have made so far. Our Thousand Mile Journey has just begun with these steps!

Regards
Future India Team

Advertisements

A promise to the newborn…

Dear All,

Recently we visited an orphanage in Kolkata. Not exactly an orphanage, but all the kids there, are mostly having single parents. They are there because either their mom or dad is in jail or they are not able to afford to feed or educate the kids. So most of these kids are first generation students.

484921_4538836785001_1557262721_n

Many of them have seen enough of the dark side of life which we possibly will never see in our entire lifetime. The young minds, malnourished minds, fragile minds arrive at this place without knowing the reason behind why they have been sent here or brought here. And then a new life begins for them…

First they are taught why they should go to school. Even before that, they need to know what is school. They never saw anyone around them, since their birth, waking up in the morning, brushing and taking shower, pack the books and notebooks in a bag and wear an uniform…mostly what they saw was people fighting, sometimes getting killed, got ill treatment and misbahavior, in the process every possibility of any dream getting ruptured. No they were not fortunate to have a J K Rowling among them.

So when they are told to go to school, they get scared of the unknown. This is the biggest challenge that the educators and the volunteers face. Convincing the kids to open a book, to have them listen to a story – we all know when there is lot of darkness around, we need lot of light to wipe that darkness away. But sometimes, rays of light can do the magic.  And that is what is happening with these kids. Poetry, Music, Paintings are the vehicles of those rays of light travelling through the dark roads of the mind.

The wonderful world in the mind of the young child is getting recreated again. The dreams start to come back. The dreams of becoming a poet, a painter, an engineer, a doctor one day. Tears dry up, the memories of ill treatment fade away. They get replaced by Sukumar Roy’s Abol Tabol or Robindronath’s Shishu. They get replaced by the colorful Paint Boxes, Color Pencils.  With the resurrection of this dream, comes a resolve. So when the parents of the rich kids complain to the school that these ‘kids with no whereabouts’ should not be allowed to mix with theirs, when the neighbors avoid them and do not allow their kids to play with them, they and their dreams march on. In spite of all resistances. And they top the class.

65967_4538836504994_1811537172_n

Th377611_4538833064908_709299897_ney win the painting competition in school. They win the prize for most attendance in class – can you believe that or beat that?  They win the book  named ‘I am Vivekananda speaking’.  Seeing the kids, the bright eyes, the mind full of dream, the enthusiasm to learn and go to school, that line written by a famous Bengali poet reverberates constantly – ‘I will make this world livable for children, this is my promise to the newborn’.

PS: The kids from well-to-do families, after they mix with the kids from the orphanage and become good friends, fight back when their parents say anything and convinces them back that it is not a good idea to create differences among kids.

Regards

Future India Team

%d bloggers like this: