“Before any great things are accomplished, a memorable change must be made in the system of education…to raise the lower ranks of society nearer to the higher.”- John Adams
It has been nearly 5 years since I am being constantly motivated towards my work in the social sector. My immense love for children doesn’t stop on the ones I see around me- well-educated, well-dressed, and well-spoken. But it had been for the children who have aspirations and dreams sparkling in their little eyes but could not somehow have the opportunity to take them forward. You can call it my concern for underprivileged children that took me to an education-supporting body for poor or my will to personally develop while I bring some change in the society no matter how big or small, through how big or small.
I am Aishwarya Ragunaath and I started to volunteer for U&I, a Non-Profit Organisation that focuses on teaching underprivileged children along with connecting early childhood practice, policy, and research. As a volunteer, I used to devote two and a half hours on every Sunday, teaching English to two tiny beautiful girls who were so determined to study and learn. If you see, several NGOs including U&I maintain a one-to-one student-teacher ratio so that each child gets individual attention. This is done in order to groom the children in such a way that they are well-versed with all aspects of the language. Every volunteer tries to come up with creative ways of teaching the children instead of making it a monotonous classroom environment.
We are all aware about the condition of so many children in India who don't have access to primary education. Fifty percent of the child population in our country is underprivileged, and that has a very adverse impact on our nation. I believe that Education and Skills development go hand in hand. If you educate a child but the child is still unable to utilise the education imparted to him/her in making the life easier, the entire effort goes in vain. Because the ultimate aim of educating these children is to make them capable enough to earn themselves a living. Taking care of which, volunteers at NGOs immensely put their hours in qualitative manner rather than quantitative which is an amazing effort in itself. Over this time we have not only educated a number of children who are doing really well in their classes, but have also set up a beautiful bond with these kids at the centre which, I believe, further helps them to grow emotionally and understand the importance of relationship building.
As an L&D (Learning & Development) fellow, I am responsible to take care of the curriculum, books, resources, training of the volunteers, and leading fundraising campaigns. There had been times when we struggled with the funds and providing resources to our children got tougher for us but never has the time of failure touched our grounds. If you keenly look at the situation, NGO’s need investment as much as a primary school in a village does, to develop a child into a person with at least minimum of three skill sets till he/she reaches the age of 13. And this is why this service requires a lot of cooperation and patience in and out of the team!
Looking at the increased frequency of government projects to educate the underprivileged section of the society, I am very hopeful that more number of early child education supporting bodies will come up so that illiteracy perishes from all the sections of the society with double the speed it is working at in present. I am hopeful that every educated person in India will be motivated enough to hand in at promoting and imparting high-quality early learning to these young children of the nation!
About the Author:
Aishwarya Ragunaath is a Learning and Development fellow at U&I, a Non-Government Organization that focuses on education for the underprivileged. Through her experience at U&I, she found her passion towards engaging with children, promoting quality education, and working towards a well-developed society for the country. With the technical blend as a software engineer, she aspires to work towards the betterment of education sector.