By Sheiladitya Kumar, Volunteer
Around this time last year, I was trekking on glaciers in Alaska, watching grizzlies feast on salmons and cruising in the open oceans off the west coast of USA. I spent my early childhood in India, but have lived and studies abroad for the last few years and had begun to get used to my own perfect world.
This year, my mother encouraged me to spend a week with the children at Pratham Learning Centre, Trilokpuri in Mayur Vihar, Delhi and I am glad, that for once, I bowed to her wishes and lived a week that helped me rediscover my roots and appreciate, that for millions of children, life is full of imperfections, which they are battling to attain a fraction of the education many of us take for granted.
My objective was to teach English and Math to children of the age group 8-14 with the help of games and activities so that they could recall what they had learnt and put them to practical use. A week is a drop in the ocean for these children who have so much to catch up on, but their enthusiasm and eagerness is a panacea for all doubts and for one week, I gave back to the world a small part of what I have received over the past years. The children are extremely hardworking and passionate about learning. It is a far cry from the comfortable environment that many of us are used to, but when they are in the class rooms, the sole intent of the children is to focus on learning and despite the very basic infrastructure; they ensure they make every minute count.
The teachers who engage daily with these children are equally passionate and encourage the children to dream big about their future. Vikas wants to become an army officer, Aman a cricketer, Sunny a police officer and others want to grow up to become doctors or engineers. Together, they are slowly but surely changing the face of India.
· Encourage others to visit and volunteer to teach at some of the sites
· Start a local chapter and through group activity find novel ways of supporting the cause
· Make a donation and encourage others to do so
If, like me, you hail from a privileged background, I would implore you to spend a small part of your life and resources in giving back to the word and making a difference to the lives of those who were not as fortunate as we are. The smile it brings to their face is well worth the small sacrifice you will make.