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Jamia university students turn teachers for Delhi’s slum kids, get them admitted to schools

The student community, Aaghaaz-e-Taleem, made up of students of Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia, has successfully managed to enrol 15 slum kids in schools in less than three months.

education Updated: Apr 12, 2018 12:01 IST
Henna Rakheja
Henna Rakheja
Hindustan Times
Jamia Millia Islamia University,Aaghaaz-e-Taleem,Slum
Students from the community, Aaghaaz-e-Taleem pose with the slum kids after a workshop.

Meeting slum kids from Delhi’s Shram Vihar basti, Monazza Ashraff was struck by their exuberance and will to learn. “They started jumping, and joyously saying, ‘Hi! Ma’am!’ Their energy was contagious to the extent that my friend, who was accompanying me just to see, decided to join us,” says Ashraff. The 19-year-old is part of a community of students, Aaghaz-e-Taleem, from Jamia Millia Islamia, who have come together to teach slum children, between the ages 8 and 12, in Jamia’s neighbouring localities.

Usually, youngsters from all over the world come to a university to pursue higher studies, and move on with their lives after they graduate. “This doesn’t benefit the society, especially those living the closest to the university. That’s why, to bring a change in the lives of slum children, who drop out of schools, we initiated a project under the NGO CRY (Child Rights and You) – wherein we selected from Jamia students, 30 educators, 10 organising team members and 5 team managers,” says Gitesh Aggarwal, final year mechanical engineering student, and founder of the project. “Two educators are allotted one child, who is taught six subjects in 60 hours of study. Once the pre-designed curriculum is completed, we help the child get admission in a nearby government school. After that, we keep checking their progress in school once a week,” he adds.

An educator from Aaghaaz-e-Taleem teaches one of the slum kids.

Before the project came into action, the community raised money through crowdfunding, to pay for the travel and other expenses of volunteers. Then, an induction program to assess volunteers on different counts was conducted. “I help the educators fill the report cards given to them, which need to be signed by the parents of the children at the end of every study period. I also help the kids by conducting their oral and written tests,” says team manager Sadia Khanum, 19, a student of Diploma in Elementary Education at Jamia.

“Every Saturday we conduct workshops such as on art and craft, planting, and even self-defense for the overall personality development of these children. The idea is to make them learn new things to make their base strong before they get admitted to school. In fact, even for their admission, we help their parents who are often unaware of the procedure or don’t possess necessary documents such as Aadhaar cards, and thus don’t get their kids admitted to schools,” adds Khanum.

Children attend one of the Saturday workshops at a slum near Jamia Millia Islamia university.

What started as a pilot project on February 1, is nearing the completion of study work on April 20, and the student volunteers are excited to have received such as positive feedback. “The success of the project made us turn this into a full-fledged movement. Earlier we thought we’ll just do it once. Today, we feel proud that we are able to send 15 kids to school. This has strengthened our belief, and we now want to expand this project to other universities, and keep continuing it for more kids to benefit,” says Aggarwal.

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First Published: Apr 12, 2018 11:57 IST