Spreading the gift of knowledge

Spreading the gift of knowledge


Spreading the gift of knowledge

As the clock strikes 3 pm, the Students Activity Centre at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) starts buzzing with the chattering of ‘kids’. You can hear some giggles too.  Spend few minutes outside the main entrance and the cries of children in unison- greeting their teacher will enter your ear drum. No wonder, in a university like JNU, these noises can surely put you in dilemma. 

Those shrieks come out from a classroom, run by the group of JNU students and ex-students, who took an initiative to help the underprivileged kids.  It is the group ‘Unnoticed’ operated by 15 volunteers, who solely works on educating the children of construction workers within the university campus.

Running in the campus since 2007, ‘Unnoticed’ became active in 2010 as the number of kids and volunteers to run the group increased,” says Tirthankar Bhattacharya, who is doing PhD in South East Asian studies and is also managing ‘Unnoticed’.  Initially, starting with only a room in the International Students Association office, the classroom has now been extended to two rooms. “Thanks to University administration for supporting our cause,” apprises Tirthankar.

Unlike normal school classroom, the classes at JNU starts at 3 pm and ends at 5 pm. Kids from age group four to fourteen are part of it who study English, Hindi and Maths on weekdays and are made to learn extra –curricular activities like dance, craft and drama on weekend.   According to the teachers, who are also students in the University feel proud when they see eagerness of the kids to learn something new.

For Sudhir, presently pursuing M.Phil in Russian language and is a mathematics teacher for the kids, feels motivated when sees kids enthusiasm for studies. “Kids are co-operative because they want to learn something new.  The zeal with which they attend the classroom is encouraging. They understand that they don’t have to waste time and grab the most in their three-hour long classes.”

Similar were the views shared by Radha, who is teacher for English from last three months and is a student of Bachelors of Elementary Education in JNU says, “Despite being naughty, these children have completely changed attitude whenever I teach them something new. Today, when I taught them about noun, all the students seriously listened to me without uttering a word.”

Besides, studies, the group organises regular heath camps. “We have one to two health camps in a month. We give them vaccinations and maintain their health record. Sometimes we even organise camp near their jhuggis too,” says Tirthankar, appreciating the assistance he gets from the health related NGOs and clubs.

However, offering so much to kids from their education to health, the group faces challenges in accumulating funds. “We collect funds through the photography exhibition and participate at the International Food Festival in JNU every year. We also get financial help from ex-students like one of our volunteer Maria Centrone, had worked as an intern at the European Union (EU) Delegation to India and Bhutan. Through her help we have got computers from EU,” says Tirthankar.

From providing basic education to funding of their school stationery and bus service, apparently the Unnoticed is an effort by JNU students to play a crucial role in fulfilling social responsibility.

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