As the clock strikes five in the evening, there is a flurry of activity in Hoshiyarpur village of Sector 51 as a group of around seventy children flock to their learning ground where a group of 20 residents teaches them mathematics and science with the help of a projector.
The group comprises of students, lawyers, engineers and BPO workers, who have turned the two hours of teaching students into a fun-filled interactive session to promote critical thinking.
Aged five to 14, most of these children receive formal education in government schools, while a few of them spend their days at home. The evening classes are a source of enjoyment and fun as they get to play games, learn soft skills and try to speak fluent English.
The parents of these children, who work as daily wagers in fields, industries and at construction sites are thankful to the volunteers for educating them. Many parents said that they never allow their children to miss a class and also keep track of their progress reports.
The volunteers, on major festivals, also buy dresses for the children. Besides, they provide stationery items for the children, up to class 9, on a monthly basis.
In the last two years, the number of children attending these classes has risen from 20 to 70. The volunteers said they are trying to spread the culture of social service in Noida by teaching underprivileged children.
“We think we can encourage others also to do so (teach underprivileged kids) in their locality or start such an initiative of their own. Everyone has a little time to spare in a day, which they can use to change others’ lives for the better. If people put their efforts, our education system will prosper, “ Keshav Datta, a lawyer, who is a part of the programme, said.
Datta is 25 years old and is a practising lawyer at the Delhi high court. He had initiated the project in 2015 along with his friends. He said that the number of students attending their classes is increasing every month.
These children receive the free education at the educational centre, which they call “Vidya Vistar”. The volunteers said the efforts will also help them bridge the gap between the poor and the privileged. Volunteers also conduct tests for the students to ensure that they apply what they are being taught.
“It is also important for us to ensure that the children are learning. We also take care of their extracurricular activities. We want people in other areas also to take steps to teach students,” Tapasvini Sahu, a homemaker, said.
The children were enthusiastic about the classes. “We cannot afford computers or laptops. At the education centre, we have access to these gadgets, with the help of volunteers. It helps us compete and also generates interest in studies,” 12-year-old Deepak Yadav said.
“Every day, we have something new to learn here and our parents never allow us to miss the classes,” 12-year-old Raushni Maurya said.