For quite some time I was deliberating on the structure of a Social Outreach Program through which, I can give back to society in my humble way for all the privileges that I have had so far. An introspection to find the right path is indeed a difficult task. Somehow 7 of us got together, had several rounds of discussion on actual and imaginary roadblocks and decided to take the plunge.
I thought, if the power of discrimination i.e ‘Vivek’ is made clear, then it will act as a ‘deep’ (lamp) helping both the students and the facilitators walk on the right path. Thus ‘Vivekdeep’ was lighted. Looking at our limited capacity, we decided to start with 20 boys of the age group 8 – 12 years whose parents are auto drivers, gardeners, painters, masons and the like.
To draw up a curriculum, I thought to meet some of them informally to assess their academic caliber. It reminded me of the interactions that I used to have with the B Tech students of Univ of Hertfordshire, UK for the same purpose. I had no idea that I was in for a rude shock ! I could hardly hold my tears when a Class V student of Govt School could not read a single word in Hindi ! However, his shining eyes were full of life and willingness to do something in life- all he needed was just a caring hand ! This was the case of all the boys L
Thus we included Listening, Speaking and Reading capability in the curriculum. Basic Science and General Awareness completed the list. Value Education will be an inherent component in all the modules, as this most important aspect has vanished from our Education system :-(
As I explained the program during the inauguration on 12th of this month, to the students and their parents, they all listened with rapt attention. I could read disbelief written on their faces, when I said that it will be a 1 hr session daily, at the end of which a glass of milk and light snacks will be given to each student. And everything will be free of cost !
We have to organize funds, manpower, other resources, IT exemption under 80 (G) etc etc.