In 2012 when we had just started Gurukul, we had this girl named Saloni. She was so shy and underconfident that when her teachers invited her on stage to receive the award certificate for her class performance, she couldn’t even say ‘Thank you’ on stage. Her teachers insisted that she says a Thank You on receiving the award but she wouldn’t utter those two simple words. She was nervous and kept looking at her feet and then she finally walked away. In that moment I realized that I have made the right decision to work with these children. These are the children who need me the most. We worked hard with our initial batch of 28 children and next year I saw this same girl acting on stage in one of the school plays. She had a diametrically opposite persona in just a year’s time. This is what education and the belief in children’s potential can do. It can transform their lives and this is what Gurukul intends to do.
Sushma is the third child in her family of 5 sisters. She came to us, as her father couldn’t afford the education of his 4 daughters. The elder one was married pretty early. Sushma though initially shy and under-confident has turned out into a confident and well-spoken young girl. In villages you find very few girls pursuing the science stream and she is one of them. She aims to become a doctor. When we started Taekwondo classes at school, she was among the first few girls to join the training. She also encouraged her younger sister to join with her. Sushma won a Bronze medal at a State Level Championship held at IIT Kanpur. I am proud to see her come out of her shell and work towards her goals.
She comes from a very poor family and has to deal with an alcoholic father at home who doesn’t earn anything and keeps sitting home. She has seen a lot of domestic violence at home but now she stands up to her father when he starts to beat her mother. Inspite of all the difficulties she faced at home, she never let it affect her studies. In a field dominated by men (Maths stream in class XII) she has remained a class topper through out. Her elder sister too has been married at a very young age but she is determined that she wont marry till the time she stands on her own feet. We need more such role models for our children. She truly embodies the never say die attitude.
His parents are very old probably he is a late child. His father is blind and his mother is dependent on villagers for work and food. They have no source of income and live under extremely difficult circumstances. He still comes to school daily and enjoys his time at school. When we took is admission, he didn’t utter a single word from his mouth and I even doubted if he has any physical limitation regarding his speech but now when you go to his class you will find him equally talkative as any other child in his class. He is a true example of power of education and hand holding in a child’s life.