City Couple Relocates to a Village & Starts School for Tribal Kids!
Generations back, all elderly people of the house had a common dream – to spend their life after retirement in the quiet & serene environments of their ancestral village. Many retired individuals from cities still wish to live a peaceful life in their village homes and donate their sweat for community welfare.
The other extreme of this spectrum is our parent’s generation & the millennial who wonder what they would do in such peaceful settings. With no hustle bustle around, no malls, no pizza shops & no movies to catch we would surely go mad!
The millennial may argue that while village life is worth visiting for vacations, cities do provide many more opportunities to keep you happily engaged. Also the schooling, medical facilities & job prospects in a city are much more than those in villages.
Although the above stream of ideas is true for many, some of these very people think differently despite their young age. They think about social entrepreneurship, rural empowerment & children’s education. One such couple strongly motivated to work for the betterment of their rural counterparts has actually shown to relocate to a village to provide quality education to tribal kids.
This fascinating story is about a Mumbai-based city-dwelling couple, Michelle Chawla & Hemant Babu- who left the creature comforts of a city to relocate to a tribal village in Dahanu called Sogwe, where they started a kindergarten school for the kids. After having worked in a community radio station, the duo also documented the oral history of Warli tribes in Dahanu. For 8 years they lived in the village, understanding its socio-economic conditions. In 2010, the couple started a kindergarten school to provide quality education to the local kids.
Although not free, the school operates on social entrepreneurship model & charges a nominal fee of Rs 200 per month from the kids. This is to ensure that the teacher’s salaries are paid & the children are offered progressive learning tools & toys for fun education.
The quality of education is much better that that offered by the Zilla Parishad’s school or the government run play groups. Thus even parents from all vocations residing in the village are opting to put their kids in Michelle’s school. Where once the tribal’s young kids hardly went to school, today they want their kids to go to the class every day to learn & play. One unique characteristic of the school is that the medium of communication with these kids is in Warli instead of vernacular Marathi. The tribal kids are thus better responding to their education & are quickly grasping other languages like English.
The teachers also have a Warli community background, thus making it easier for the kids to connect. They have been trained via courses in Active Learning Center which enables them to teach the kids in most progressive ways.
The school has students coming down from nearby villages to owing to its good reputation & standing amongst the villagers. The fees charged are payable by most & those who can’t afford can avail scholarships to educate their young ones.
Michelle & Hemant both plan to add more classes to the school in coming years. They also plan to educate their own daughter Ira among these tribal students at their own school.
It is said that teachers mold the future generation of any society. The correct sort of education & moral perspectives creates responsible citizens who are willing to donate their sweat for community welfare. We can be sure that the students of this small school, when grown up, would want to come back to the village to volunteer in its betterment just like their teachers did!
More couples from the cities should volunteer to support such societal causes – start a school or help farmers grow better crops, even help in starting small scale cottage industries by teaching the villagers some skillset. If not least we can do is educate the poor & needy children in our vicinity to help make a difference to someone’s life.
Tags: Best Volunteer Activity Ideas, Best Volunteering Ideas in Maharashtra, Children’s Education Volunteering, Community Service Ideas, Donate Your Sweat, Education Volunteering, Inspirational Volunteer Stories, Rural Empowerment, Social Entrepreneurship, Volunteer at an Orphanage