Taking parental interest in other people's kids

Taking  parental interest in other people's kids


Generally slum children whose childhood is spent in extreme poverty certainly appear to be out of place at a painting session as much as it is nothing short of a wonder to hear them speak English or go about doing yoga asanas.
But this is what 80 children of the Dhyan Foundation Anand Vidyalaya learn along with regular subjects like English, Maths, Hindi, computers, hygiene and etiquette in a makeshift school in the backyard of a posh home in Gurgaon.  Besides, their extra-curricular activities include singing and dancing that have taken these children to high places.

 “I have been to a five-star hotel and have talked to fashion models,” said 11-year-old Rustam. Razak, a pixy nine-year-old says, “It is fun being at the school.”
 At least 20 children of the Anand Vidyalaya, from Class  1 to 4 that is based on the school education board curriculum, have also been admitted to recognized public schools through an open competition over the last two years. “This is highly gratifying for us volunteers,” said journalist Seema Kalra.

How Anand Vidyalaya came into being is interesting: “Initially we used to feed these children on the road. Then they started ringing our doorbells. Why not teach them, we thought. And before we knew, books, stationary and uniforms started pouring in.”
The classes at the  school that runs from 8 am to 10am  is free and the kids also get fruits and snacks to keep them happy. The teachers are all volunteers, comprising a mixed group of students, home-makers and jet-set professionals. What binds them is their Sanatan Kriya, a yogic practice they pursue under the guidance of their yoga guru , Yogi Ashwini.

 “Charity and service is the core of our yoga practices, and our guru has drilled it into us that personal evolution is not possible unless we serve the have-nots,” said Nitasha Jaini, a well-known painter volunteer at the school. Sharing skills and time with these children is also a form of charity, said Jaini.
 Inspired by the success of this experiment, the Dhyan Foundation volunteers launched a similar school in Delhi’s Shakti Nagar. Unlike in Gurgaon, the teachers here are all homemakers.

 “The yoga, I have learnt from Yogi Ashwini, is about caring and sharing,” said homemaker Sadhna Jain. She reports great joy recounting that out of 25 odd children, eight of them participated in a Dhyan Foundation-organised painting exhibition on the Children’s Day and three won prizes.
 “These children first came to us with running noses; today, they bring leaves and flowers as gifts for teachers!” she exclaims. Sadhna describes it as “metamorphosis through yoga, both ours and the children’s.”  

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