I have been speaking about individuals for a while. But let us revert back to our work expansion. Perhaps some of you would be curious to know more about the expansion. I am not really sure whether I had told you about the Central School. It is a curious name for our school; it sounds more like a school run by the Central Government of India. I am pretty sure it is not! :). Then, why the name?
Our goal with the education proceeds from the fact that we had to reach children at their own communities to teach them. We have to stretched our hands and pull them to a beautiful life. To our concern, we tried to place them at a formal school. To our dismay, an average of 17 out of 20 children dropped out the school within two years! So we failed and we regretted our decision. But we did learn a lesson here. We have to create a magic within the slum community. So we designed an indigenous system of Education which we named ‘Process Education’, to cater to the needs of the slum children. I would not go into the details of PE system.
Now, PE system is not for all the children. It is only for the children who show promise and regularity. While all this is wonderful, we faced another great problem. Some problem which was beyond our control. Something beyond any well-crafted and marvelously implemented system of education! Many of the slums had to be removed without any warning or with little warning. This put the education of the children in jeopardy. Children had to relocate along with their families, to other areas placing a period to their studies. We moved along; set up our school again; it took another six months for the transition. Now all this would not have happened, if we had a stable school building a bit away from the slum. Some place where we would not be disturbed. We had no land, we needed a land which would not be disturbed. So we came up with the idea of the ‘Central School’.
The Central School would be a School for PE students to continue their education without any trouble; it would be a place where they will have a shelter above their heads; a classroom with benches and desks; where their books will not be thrown on the floor and dirtied; where pens and pencils will have free movement, unobstructed by mud; where boards will really show them what to learn. Above all, a ‘Central’ Place in the city where these kids can come to study: so the name ‘Central School’.
So then, the hunt for a place began. The search ended at a low lying land within the city, ‘central’ to two of the major slums. Here we began our work: digging, boring, leveling to build three iron frames under metal roofs. Yes, to many of us, it might not look like a good place to study; It is just three simple sheds, not really suited to teach children under the scorching sun of North Indian terrain (It can heat up to 50 degree Celsius or 122 degree Fahrenheit!). Neither do I think it is, because I would not send my daughters to such a school. But remember! It is one of its kind for our children. It is the best our children can get, and so we don’t miss on that opportunity, do we ? Our kids are happy here and they don’t expect anything more, as long as they have wonderful people to love them and teach them. Education is all about people, isn’t it?
Now I can just hear Saint Paul saying: “I can do all things through Christ , who gives me strength.”
God is our strength!