Smiles. Warmth. Kindness. Joy.
Spending the day with kids at G.P.H.S Yeshwantpur and being part of the event hosted by CRY was an absolute delight. Bright faces surrounded me throughout the day, shooting questions, sharing their thoughts on the event, Children’s Day, learning and life.“Do you like school? “ I ask, to get smiling nods in reply. “Why do you like school?” I prod further, “Here, we can learn, we can play!” Indeed.
Sadly, it is still not so for so many children in our country. As one CRY volunteer put it, “Education for children is very important. It is the basis for change and how the nation can eventually make progress.” How many young ones get this opportunity to be instruments of change, the question remains unanswered. During the community walk, I noticed many things in addition to the enthusiastic, loud chant of slogans by the kids. Amongst curious onlookers and inquisitive localites who blend into the background, ironically standing out were the children from the neighbourhood, who did not go to school. There was a sardonic contrast to that image. A contrast we must strive to remove.
The children surely were an eager lot. All set to learn and grow into educated and accomplished young men and women of tomorrow. They shared a variety of ambitions and aspirations with me, from the customary ‘Doctor’, ‘Engineer’ to an infrequent ‘Collector’ and ‘Policewoman’. Rekha, a Std.V student said she wants to “speak better English”; the self-awareness in her statement awed me. However, a little known or spoken about problem that comes into the picture here, is the lack of support and necessary guidance from the homes of some of these children, as pointed out by the primary teacher at the school. When children are not motivated they grow up to be deviated from school, mostly taken into early employment, sometimes, by their own families. This is a truly unfortunate state of affairs and this is where we, as members of the community, need to pitch in. We need to ensure that children are enrolled in schools and that they stay in schools. Like the old saying, ‘If everyone light their own candles, the whole world would be lit up’, we must do our bit to keep these candle flames alive so that one day this whole world is completely lit.
Sethulekshmy Menon, CRY intern, Bangalore on her first ever experience of interacting with children at the Children’s Day event held at a Government school.