Harish Saini, 15, always thought only well-known poets can write good poems. When the Class XI student of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya, Masjid Moth, walked into a summer camp last Wednesday, he was left bewildered — he had never imagined that even he could write poems. After attending a leadership programme organised for the first time by the School Management Committees (SMCs) — bodies mandated under the Right to Education (RTE) with a principal as the chairperson and 12 parents, a teacher, a local MLA and a social activist as members — of six Delhi government schools in south Delhi, Saini is kicked about the possibility of becoming a poet someday.
The SMCs of Shaheed Hemu Kalani Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Lajpat Nagar; Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Ayanagar; Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Kalkaji; Shaheed Shri Anusuya Prasad Government Boys School, Ambedkar Nagar; Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya, Masjid Moth and Kautilya Government Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, Chirag Enclave have come together to provide this exposure for children who are set to join Class XI.
Fifteen-year-old Chanda, who studies in class 11, wants to be a dancer. Till last week, she thought she was among the best dancers around. One leadership session later, she has realised that she needs to work harder.”
“I had won a lot of medals in my school but after coming here I met a lot of better performers. Now I know that I have to work harder. I had become overconfident as I had never stepped out of Ayanagar. This new revelation is very helpful for me to grow,”said the student of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya, Ayanagar.
Alohomora Education, a non-governmental organisation, has been conducting these training for the students.
Through various activities, the children are being taught to explore their interest, learn about their strengths and weaknesses. The workshops are also helping build confidence of the children, most of whom come from humble backgrounds.
Like Chanda, there are 70 such children who are overwhelmed on being able to be part of first this 15-day programme, which started on May 15.
Every morning, buses pick the children up from different schools.
The children then spend the entire day at a school in Lajpat Nagar, learning and cultivating their passions. With classrooms decorated with colourful charts and music being played occasionally, some children say they do not want to return home at the end of the session.”
“This is the first ever camp of my life. The first day I came here, I was very nervous. But just a few days have passed but I have already started feeling confident. Now I know I can even speak to a stranger,” said Kamlesh Kumar, a student of the Chirag Enclave school.
The NGO also plans to guide these students till they complete school. From helping them with the career choices, to digital literacy and even monetary help, the NGO will lend a helping hand”
“I have also been told that we will get monetary help later when we go to college. This will be of great help as my siblings and I are being brought up by my mother single-handed”y,” said Jayanti, who studies at the Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Kalkaji, and wants to be a kabaddi coach when she grows up.
She said she missed her kabaddi finals just to attend the programme, a first in her life.
SMC members, meanwhile, are hopeful that the 15-day camp will help these children grow and learn.
“The government school children do not get exposure so we thought this was the best way for them to have a new experience,” said Rajesh Sharma, a parent-member of the Lajpat Nagar school.