Every slum child cannot be a millionaire but they can certainly lead a decent and respectable life, feels Ranjit Singh (52), a lab attendant in Mithibai College.
He, in his own little ways to empower them, teaches children from Nehru Nagar slum, Vile Parle every evening. That’s not all. He has to gather the crowd himself — eight of them who are under his tutelage currently.
He has been doing it since 25 years.
“I have seen my father toiling hard so that I could study till higher secondary level. I try to help these children till they are in Class seven,” he added.
Singh’s main aim is to stop children from dropping out, which is a menace in the country. “I may not be able to provide them with the best of facilities but if I can do anything to prevent them from dropping out of schools, I will have served a purpose in my life,” he said.
Invoking interest in studies through live experimentations and innovations is what Purushottam Kale (54) believes in.
A post graduate teacher in Jhunjhunwala College, Ghatkopar, he is trying to educate students by taking them out on excursions, organising games, quizzes and power point presentations.
“Children learn much more outside the classrooms,” he said.
He is a director of an NGO called Vanaparva in Ratnagiri where he focuses on helping students earn while they learn.
He hires students from financially weaker backgrounds as clerical staff in the college to assist him on his research projects and pays them for their work.
Smita Kulkarni, who teaches Marathi IES’s Modern English School in Dadar hails from a small village in Raigad district.
Kulkarni, who has been helping children in the interior parts of the state, has set up a distance-learning center called Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeth in Lonavla from where around 25 students graduate every year.
She has also started a project called Deepastambh, which finds people to sponsor higher education of those who cannot afford it.
For Dr Nandini Deshmukh (55), who has been teaching since 25 years, inspiring talented students is the motto.
A zoology teacher at Kirti College, she not only distributes encyclopedias to children in villages but also takes street children to planetarium and science centres.
“I gifted a computer to a bright student who has now topped his BSc and MSc exam. He could have probably bought one on his own in a few years. But he needed it the most while he studied,” she said.