June 01, 2007

June is for Charity

Teenager Anuradha is worried.
Her school re-opens next week and she is not sure if her parents will send her back to her old school.
Last fortnight, her family and dozens of others were told to move out of the banks of the Adyar river where they had lived for over a decade. The state agencies had to clear the encroachments on the river, full at times, and stinking at times.
Some of them raised a cry, some pleaded. But the men from the government said they all had to go. Someone said they were being cleared up because a new road has been planned on the river bank.
Anuradha attended a school in San Thome. The family at the apartment where her mother worked as a maid had arranged for her admission and funded her studies and the girl had enjoyed going to school.
Now, her family would have to move to the suburbs where they would be given a tiny apartment.
But Anuradha wonders if she will have the energy to travel to the San Thome school she loves so much.
Amongst us are many Anuradhas who are perhaps in a dilemma.
School or employment? Move on to the Plus Two or discontinue studies?
Make do with a uniform that is tearing at the seam or borrow money from a kindly neighbour to stitch a new set?
June is a time for charity.
The teachers at a middle school which we support in small ways sent us a list before the school closed for the summer holidays.
A list of needs and wants for the new academic year.
There was a list for school uniforms. And a list for note-books. A list for teachers for extra- curricular activities. And a list of children who needed a simple breakfast they could not afford.
The Head Mistress, a nun, said - If you cannot do everything for us, please help us with the school uniforms.
Perhaps for 200 kids. Or maybe for 100 kids. Or if that wasn't possible, for 75.
June is a time for charity.
There are hundreds of children in our neighbourhoods who need our help. Our support. So that they may go to school like you and I have.
And there are our youths who have done well in their Board exams, have set their sights on higher studies but do not have the means to realise their goal.
June is a time for charity.
Just look around you and you will find Anuradha.
By the way, if you have come across unique efforts that a community group has made to educate neighbourhood kids, do share this story here!
I know of one - Thursday Ladies Club in Besant Nagar.


Lakshmi Bharadwaj said...

True, this is a sort of issue that I think everyone needs to think about. I loved this blog because I think this is a very important issue. I see so many such people around, and I do feel bad.
June is the time of Charity!! Let me take up that as a personal philosophy and try to do some charity this month!

Anonymous said...

You should be knowing about Dreamindia2020. This a group of IT professionals who are doing a lot for the kids in the slum and kids who can not afford basic things. These people spend their time teaching them Emglish during the weekends. They spend for their education and also take care of their medical needs. To sum up, almost everything that a kid might need.

Vincent D' Souza said...

Thanks for your comments Lakshmi and Anonymous (do we need to remain name-less in a democratic world?!!).

Our newspaper, MYLAPORE TIMES, has also been running a Trust which now focuses on supporting a middle school in the area attended by mostly poor children.

The idea we want to drive through this Trust is for people of a neighbourhood reaching out to the less fortunate in the same area. Instead of dropping 100-rupee notes at Tirupathi or a gold ring in the hundi in Palani.

We welcome Non-resident Mylaporeans to contribute to this Trust.

Anonymous said...

While I appreciate the idea of helping the poor children through the Trust, I would also like to point out that donations to temples support many educational and medical services. Thanking Gods through 100 rupee notes ultimately go to help the needy in many cases.
Belief in donations to temples should be left to personal preferences.
Do we need to talk about religion and places of worship in a secular country?

Potluri Anantaramayya