Mon, 21 Oct 2019

This school in Delhi makes learning fun for underprivileged children

Posted on Monday, July 15, 2019

A group of women came together to start an after-school initiative that helps 150 underprivileged children from Jasola village to study better, reports Smriti Mishra

For most students, enrolling in a coaching institute is an expensive proposition. But, for the first generation learners, the need for additional help is crucial. Realising the problems faced by the students from the economically weaker section, Wheel Prayas, an after-school initiative, is taking steps to help them perform better academically, and in sports.


It was in 2013 when a group of 12 women living in Jasola Vihar, Delhi, started out a venture with the thought of giving back to the society. These women from different professions gathered to create a charitable trust called Aayas Prayas with the aim of providing skills, support and opportunities to young children from underprivileged communities and ensure that they get a quality education.


The idea that began 6 years ago with just four students, today supports over 150 children and has over the years catered to the needs of more than a thousand students. The after-school initiative is intended to provide holistic development to the students after their usual school hours. “Having studied in a government school and taught in a private school for more than three decades, I realised the wide gap between the quality of education offered in both the schools,” says Kaumudi Sharma, president, Aayas Prayas, who retired from Delhi Public School (DPS), RK Puram a couple of years ago.


The trust that runs the educational venture ‘Wheel Prayas’ offers additional help needed in school work and personality development for students from government schools studying in Jasola from primary schools to class XII.


“We have a number of volunteer teachers who help the students attending the school running in two shifts. We have a special arrangement for students who do not go to a regular school to enable them to read and write,” said Sharma.


Besides teaching them CBSE school syllabus, the students are also motivated to participate in various sports tournaments, music and dance events. “We had sponsored a trip for a few students to Mumbai to play an inter-city netball tournament. We also conduct theatre and dance classes and have trained 12 girls in Kathak.”


Sharma who has been associated with several NGOs started Aayas Prayas in the basement of her house with just four children in 2013. The team regularly visited nearby villages to persuade the villagers to send their children to the school for additional help in education. Soon, the word spread and several students from government schools started coming in.


Initially, getting the funds were a challenge, but soon Sharma was joined by several members living in her locality who decided to contribute to the school. With the number of students increasing, Wheel Prayas is hoping to get corporate help, but until that happens this group of women is happy to donate and continue to offer free educational support.


“We organise fundraising events that not only help us financially but also give exposure to the students. With vocational training offered to the students, many of them have become experts in making handicraft products,” adds Sharma.While the school currently operates at Jasola, Sharma plans to expand it further and have a bigger school with a playground, and better infrastructure. “All we want is that children from all walks of life should at least have the basic knowledge of reading and writing,” adds Sharma.

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