When obligations can’t suppress determination and aspirations…

Nimisha Prajapati, Foundation Teacher, Dr. K. R. Shroff Foundation, Sabarkantha

Here is a story that celebrates the spirit of dreams in a small village called Thuravas in Taluka Vadali of Sabarkantha district where I work as both an education coordinator and a science teacher for grade 6th & 7th in Thuravas Primary School.

I like my classes to be interactive where students are actively participating in question-answers with enthusiasm. But since long I was noticing that one girl named Amba would sit silently in the class and wouldn’t utter a word. I sensed that something was wrong as it was not about only being silent; it was more about unhappiness, introvert and loneliness. She would not mingle with her classmates also. Moreover, her grades were also not good. I immediately started taking extra classes for Amba but with no good results. One day I got angry with her and scolded her and she started crying. It made me feel guilty so I immediately reconciled her and asked about her problems. Why was she always upset? Why doesn’t she mingle with her classmates? About her loneliness…. And then I found the real problem. Being four siblings, her laborer parents were finding it difficult to make the two ends meet. As a result, she was burdened with household work as well as taking care of her siblings which left her tired and demotivated to come to school. Many times she would come to school without eating anything.

Amba’s misery made me upset and also made me think about the solution. I started counseling her and created a friendly bond with her. I sort of explained to her that I can’t help you with your responsibilities at home, but I can help you out in studies. Also, I encouraged her to become friends with other girls in the class. I called up the girls of her class and requested them to make Amba their friend. They kept their promise and started taking Amba with them, be it lunchtime or free period or for any other school activity, they always kept Amba with them. That brought a radical change in her behavior and inner confidence. Now she was interested in coming to school, would play actively with her friends and she was smiling! In the class, I consoled her that no one will make fun of her whenever she answers a question and she will not be scolded even if the answer is wrong. This eventually built confidence in her and she started participating in class. All her teachers noticed this positive change in her. Now, she doesn’t stay alone anymore and is always playing, mingling, and enjoying her school life.

This was a very heart touching experience of my life and made my resolve even stronger that when a child is understood and nurtured with love, you can always expect a positive outcome.