Archana's Visit to Kanya Vidyalaya - Geja - March 2010

posted Mar 27, 2010, 3:58 PM by Sangeetha Chowhan

On March 18th, 2010 I got a chance to visit the small village in the vicinity of Noida city. The village seemed very modern with mobile phone shops, auto repair shops and to my surprise a board saying “Internet café”.  I was looking for Kanya Vidyalaya sponserd by SmallStepsFoundation, nobody knew about the school but was willing to give us directions to some school which they knew.  I was accompanied with my parents and a driver. We called, Mr. Sharma, the principal, who came out to a ‘Shiv Mandir’ to escort us to the school.

At the school, we were greeted with warm words ‘Good afternoon Madam’ by a teenage girl wearing a pink and white salwar kameez, her uniform. The school was a small building with 4-5 small rooms, full of benches and children of all ages. There was a small courtyard and the rooms were located around it. Although the classes were in progress, but I could see so many little eyes trying to catch a glimpse of the visitors.

I went to each classroom and was greeted by kids.  I was speechless, seeing the innocent yet confident look in the girls eyes. My father, who has a passion for young kids took the lead and started talking to girls. He made the girls sing prayer, talk about the subject they were learning, ask them some riddles and sang songs with them. The girls knew how to converse in English.

In the junior classroom, the kids were too excited to see the visitors. They participated in the games that my father made them play and shouted ‘Jai Hind’ to top of their voices. A thought came to me that for sure I won’t get the same volume if I ask my 1st grade daughter and her classmates, studying in US. These little kids had a urge for learning, they shared jokes, even showed us roll over tricks.

The senior girls were quite but very sensible. They explained about their text book very nicely to us. I asked a question to all classrooms, “Who wants to go to America ?”, almost everyone in every classroom raised hands.

There were 7 teachers, mostly from nearby villages only. Teachers seemed happy and dedicated. They told us about the things that they do with the kids and how they make them sing and dance on Friday afternoons.

Although there are about 200 students from KG to 10th grade in the school, I could see that they were crammed in the small rooms. Each bench had 3 or more kids, with benches arranged very very close together. They definitely need a bigger and a brighter space. The principal told us that children need assistance in buying text books for the upcoming new session. Though most of the kids were wearing uniforms, some of them were in everyday cloths.  In India, the norm is that school children wear uniforms, so helping out with uniform may be a requirement for some of the kids.

With the mixed thoughts and couple of tears in my eyes, I left the place promising them another visit during my next trip to India. My father got Fruity’s for all the kids and it was a small little gift to the children on that hot day in Delhi.

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