Bangalore's professionals teach village kids
Every weekend children of Koonankoppalu village in Karnataka eagerly await visiting teachers from India's tech hub to help them with mathematics, English and science.
The village, around 120 km from Bangalore, boasts of one government-run primary school with 45 students.
The school has only one teacher for classes 1 to 5, but the situation improved in April last year.
Smayate Foundation, an organisation of young professionals from Bangalore, took up the task of helping the children.
Along with the 45 primary school children, another 40 studying in Chotanahalli Government High School in another village nearby also get tuitions from the professionals.
"It's a long-term project. We're not looking for short-term achievements. However, in a year's time we can safely say that there is a new surge among the village children to learn and educate themselves," Arun Mune Gowda, founder member of Smayate and a mechanical engineer working in Bangalore, told IANS.
The results are showing. All the six children of Chotanahalli High School tutored by the volunteers cleared their Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exams in March.
"The society chose Koonankoppalu to start the special project because it's the only village among four to have a primary school. Moreover, a member of our group, Nagaraj, studied in the village school and achieved success in life after great hardship," said Gowda.
Smayate (meaning smile in Sanskrit) was started by six engineering students of Malnad Engineering College in Hassan, all of whom later shifted to Bangalore. Today the group has 12 active members.
"Smayate Foundation is an organisation formed by a group of like-minded, enthusiastic youth focussed on providing modern education to underprivileged and rural children," said Sandesh Kumar Rai, secretary of the foundation who is working with a Bangalore based IT-company.
"Our mission is to identify children or schools from various rural areas which lack basic quality education, provide necessary support to them and encourage them towards education. We have undertaken many projects by providing clothes and books to the schoolchildren, sponsoring their education and conducting weekend classes. Our project in Koonankoppalu aims at realizing our primary goal," added Rai.
In January this year, the foundation appointed a teacher, Muthuraj, to give special tuition to the village children. The foundation pays his salary.
"The lone teacher in the school is not sufficient to look after the needs of the children. So, Muthuraj has been appointed to take care of the children's needs and help them build a strong base," said Gowda. "Our goal is to stop largescale dropouts from village schools," he added.
Revanna, the government-appointed teacher in the primary school, is happy that the foundation is helping him provide the children a stronger educational base.
"After the foundation started their project, our children have improved in their studies. Moreover, the children are now showing interest to learn," said Revanna, who only writes his first name.
Nandini, who has recently passed her SSLC exams from Chotanahalli Government High School, gives the foundation the credit for her success.
"My parents are illiterate. Moreover, I study in a government school and there are not enough teachers to guide us. I cannot afford to take tuition. However, teachers of the foundation helped me in maths and English papers. Because of my weekend coaching classes, I cleared my 10th standard exams," said Nandini, who aspires to become a teacher.
The members of the foundation are funding the project on their own.