The current literacy rate of India is 74.04%, amongst which Kerala has achieved a literacy rate of 100%, while Bihar has the least literacy rate at 63.62%. Even at this rate, not many children are fortunate enough to receive proper primary education. LEADer Ravi, student, DAV, PG College, Varanasi focusing on primary education spotted a government run primary school Dhoopchandi , Varanasi. A school becomes a school with students in it. Unfortunately there were hardly any students attending school at Dhoopchandi. This is because most of them belonged to the poor sections of the society, where parents think better to engage the child in some work that brings money, than send the child to school.
In economics, the cycle of poverty is the “set of factors or events by which poverty, once started, is likely to continue unless there is outside intervention.” LEADer Ravi tried to be this “outside intervention” and motivate the parents to send their children as well as the children to come to school. He tried to impart to them the importance of knowledge. The poor people already aware of the shallowness the city NGOs practice, initially refused to entertain him because they categorized him under the same system, where NGOs come to publishes their poverty, photograph and run back in their air-conditioned cars. But if you are determined and honest in your efforts, it is visible to one and all. Taking this as challenge in LEAD, he did not give up, instead he went there everyday, despite the scorching heat of Varanasi and struggling with financial problems of his own. He distributed old books, including his own childhood school books and kept on preaching how education empowers you. For further assistance he contacted the Principal of the said school, who was genuinely interested and shared his own difficulties in providing the students the basic amenities. For example prescribed books in the course never arrived because the printing was delayed. The teachers appointed in the school, were assigned duties by the Election Commission. Whatever be the reason obstacles kept standing in the path to education.
Children are most at the mercy of the cycle of poverty. Because a child is dependent on his or her guardian, if a child’s guardian is in poverty, then they will be also. It is almost impossible for a child to pull him or herself out of the cycle due to age, lack of experience, lack of a job etc. He along with the Principal started working towards motivating the child to go to school. The difference that was present in Ravi unlike the others, he persistently daily visited this slum locality coincidentally even named Garib Colony . He went from house to house educating the parents about the benefits about education, and how their child if educated would make a difference. He distributed old clothes, books, stationary; anything that was discarded or extra for some that proved to be everything for them.
Currently the attendance rate of the same school is 80%. With almost the majority of the children attending school, learning and growing the future of the country isn’t a bleak one. If you stick with your goal, if you have what it takes to climb that extra mountain, walk that extra mile, you can infact make a difference. It could be 0.01% or 60%, yet there will be change, there will be hope.
Written by: Tirna Sarkar