A group of morning walkers in NOIDA has initiated a project to take children of poor migrants from Bihar, living in their neighbourhood, away from beggary and on to the path of literacy.
"Gyan Shakti Vidyalaya", is an initiative launched by the Morning Walkers Group of Sector 15-A, Noida.Its mission is to make children of poor Bihar migrants between the age group of 3 to 13 years,literate. By doing so, the members hope to take these children away from the path of beggary and lead them onto one of education.
According to Rear Admiral (retd) H C Malhotra, the Initiator and Mentor of "Gyan Shakti Vidyalaya", the objective is not to start any recognised school, but to encourage poor kids to seek a formal education in government-run schools in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, and to monitor the kids' performances.
All this began a year ago, when morning walkers were stirred by seeing scores of hygienically uncared for and poorly clad children, from the cluster of huts at Dalupura Yamuna Khader Pushta across the Noida-Delhi Toll Road. The kids were found begging near the Mazhaar (shrine) at the Main Park, opposite Sector 15A, Noida on Thursdays.
In July 2006, the group decided to collectively start a social welfare project based on practical needs of these children and wean them away from begging, idling away precious time, and motivate them to undertake formal schooling.
The "Gyan Shakti Vidyalaya" (School for slum children) was inaugurated in a shed at the Dalupura Yamuna Khader Pushta on May 26 this year.
Today, over a hundred children are enrolled with the initiative, including more than 40 children attending government-run schools in Noida and East Delhi's Chilla Village.
Children now regularly gather at the Main Park near the Mazhaar (shrine) for two hours on Thursday and Sunday mornings, not for begging, but for educative and character building pursuits, and other activities.
On all other days, the children are given lessons for three hours at the school shed in Dalupura Yamuna Khader Pushta.
Besides, special tutorials are also held for school going children for nearly two hours on all weekdays.
Alongside, visits to places of interest, such as National Science Centre and the Gandhi Smriti, are organised for the children to build their sense of curiosity and inquiry.
Malhotra says the initiative has received "good support" from the parents of these kids, though it still remains a challenge.
The Core Management Group of the "Gyan Shakti Vidyalaya", which comprises of two educators and five voluntary workers, monitors the progress of the children.
In immediate future, the "Gyan Shakti Vidyalaya" plans to set up a computer and a skill development centre, a library, and make arrangement for indoor games at the school shed.
"Support with the goodies to the kids continues, along with all the initiative for education," says Malhotra.
The financial support for the project comes from the contribution of Morning Walkers Group, he adds.