Varanasi- The nucleus of India’s religion and culture. Every year, hundreds of people throng the banks of the Ganga at Varanasi to cleanse themselves spiritually and physically. It is here that I met ten year old Ravi.
Ravi did odd jobs around Assi Ghat through the day, serving as a guide to tourists and piligrims. With a razor sharp mind, he had learnt the tricks of the business and managed to add a few rupees to his father’s meager income. I asked him why he wasn’t in a school, for which he answered,”Bibi ji, my father cannot afford my education. Plus, there is no government school close by here for poor children like me.” I was appalled to hear this. Varanasi is the most sacred banks of the Ganges and the seat of cultural learning. Yet, for children like Ravi, schooling was a distant dream.
Literacy for socio-economic development
For a nation to progress both socially and economically, literacy is a key factor. Illiteracy, impacts health, living and working conditions of people, and their general welfare. It has a direct link to crime rate too. As a nation, India has to deal with almost all of this. Our literacy rate as per the 2011 census is at 74.4%, way below the international average literacy levels. So what hampers our literacy levels? One, we lack basic schooling facilities. We are short of proper classrooms, teaching staff, supplies, books and basic sanitation in schools. Apart from this, the question of affordability deters quite a many from pursuing any sort of formal education.
Varanasi boat school – An innovative step
For children like Ravi, around the banks of the Ganges, school may really not be a distant dream. Ajeet Singh a true Do Righter has started the “boat school” on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi. Functioning out of a boat, this innovative school provides basic education to scores of children who do odd jobs around the banks. Ajeet Singh teaches these children subjects such as Maths, English, drawing, computers and Hindi for two hours after their regular school day. The school serves as a stimulating environment for children, keeping them off the streets of Varanasi. The young minds learn and enjoy school without any pressures or tension.
Helping the school spread its wings
The purpose of this boat school is to ensure the basic right to education for all children. Today the school is ready to spread its wings and transform many more lives. It needs an ideal learning environment. From new interiors, to supplies such as books, teaching aid and music facility. The school aims to be an inspiration for the young minds and help them soar high.
Let’s help bring about a magical transformation in the lives of these children. Share this message across your network with #india4india and #ScholarShip. Spread the word. Your efforts to empower these children, in whichever way you want, by donating or sharing the word, would mean a lot. So come on India, join the Journey of Doing Right.