Weʼre raising £10,000 to fund an impoverished school. To provide students with clean water, improve school's infrastructure, and to have student's basic needs met.
- London, UK
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It all started with my urge to teach; After the move from Canada to London with the change of career, people, culture, place, and lifestyle; I wanted something more, I wanted to find something that made me happy and something that I am passionate about.The obvious wasn't further than the end of my nose. I love to teach, and I love to be surrounded by kids. I thought of putting them together. Wanted to reach out to kids that are in need of access to free education.
I searched the Internet for schools that might be interested, contacted family and friends in the academia to get me in touch with at least one child. I approached remote schools in India; I asked if they were interested in an after-school program for kids. Finally my pursuit ended at Keradamattam Panchayath Union School. A tongue-twister at first has now become my very slogan.
A tiny school, in a small village in southern India, nearly 9,000 km away has changed my life. At first, it was personal, and I wanted to free myself from boredom, follow my passion (a cliche indeed ) and most importantly to do something that kept me happy. I started to provide online lessons for kids aged 10 to 12, Year 6 English. I started with changing my Study into a classroom, spent my weekends creating lesson plans, flash cards, and educational games. I then began my venture, took lessons twice a week every week. Almost a year now and I have enjoyed every second of it. Nothing I looked more forward to than interacting with my 22 kids.
The experience was surreal, and the more days went by, the stronger my relationship with each kid grew. Some more than others, to some I am no longer just an online teacher, I became more than that, a mentor, a friend, a sister and sometimes even a mother. I started to help them financially and emotionally as I would to any of my family member or a friend in need. However, somewhere in the middle, my family, my husband, and my friends started to ask a lot of questions. Asked me if I was investing my time knowledge and everything I gave..... in the right place and to the right people. It started to get to me, that bug provoked me to ponder and before I proceed further I needed answers, and that's when I decided to put an end to my virtual relationship and go give those kids a hug ! and that's what I did.
I sat on a very long flight to India. I never experienced online dating. But I am sure those butterflies, anticipation and all the feelings I felt were comparable. It was no surprise; kids were thrilled to see me as much as I was. I spent two weeks in Keradamattam, and the experience was surreal. I couldn't have asked for a better reception. The days I spent there were the most amazing days of my life. As I started to get to know the kids, teachers and their families, I understood that there couldn’t be any kids more deserving of my time. I also realised that they need more than just my support ... need for help in Keradamattam is pressing, urgent and endless. The family background of the kids and their socioeconomic positioning made me realise that they are in desperate need of help. Every kid has a unique story that will drown you in a sea of grief. I decided that I will do everything I could to help them I concluded that there was a reason that of all schools I chose Keradamatam.
Allow me to share few of the stories that I have come across.
Danush - Father committed suicide, mother left the kids abandoned as she was a young mother and didn’t know what to do when there was a family crisis. She abandoned the kids with their Grandmother. Danush has a younger sister Trisha and an older brother Nagul. They live of only 1000 Rs/month of Grandma's pension. The grandmother can’t see very well, and these kids are her everything and she tries her utmost best to provide for these three children. Danush does all the work in the house and still manages to give 100 % attendance at school. Very mature for his age, he cooks, cleans, fetches water and cares for his sister. They are in need of clean water at a comfortable reach, functional bathroom, windows for their hut, and groceries for a daily meal.
Rathika – No mother, living with Father and brother. Sweetest girl ever! She wakes up before sunrise to collect woods to ignite the clay stove and cook for three and then walks to school and then she goes back only to finish all the household duties. While visiting the school, one day, I announced that I would visit each of their house to please their requests. That evening I failed to visit Radhika's house. Rathika didn't come to school that day. I was upset she that she was absent. The next morning I was very firm and expressed my disappointment that she didn't come to school. She began to cry, and her friend then nudged her to explain. When I probed, she explained that she cleaned her house, prepared tea and went to the store to buy biscuits and borrowed chairs from her neighbours to host me. I was gutted! Sweetest and the most affectionate girl. She is yearning for love and affection, and she is in need of personal hygiene and a private and proper place to sleep and bathe. She lives in a one-room hut where she sleeps, takes a bath and cooks her daily meal.
Yugesh - Father addicted to alcohol, mother not present in life, and lives with a grandmother. Yugesh and his younger sister wears torn shoes and torn clothes to school. All his basic needs are not met everyday.
Shalini - My Hero, she comes from a small tribe, parents do not encourage kids to come to school, otherwise use them for house chores or babysit their siblings while parents got to work. I slowly got Shalini's attention drawn to school and through her I managed to get 6 other kids from her tribe to give continuous attendance for the past 5 months. No bribe needed. Just constant encouragement, love and guidance to Shalini. She promised me that she will make sure to bring at least 4 students from her tribe to school everyday.... only to make me happy. She needs to be rewarded for her braveness and the support she gives me (nothing extravagant, just her basic needs to be met).
Mani - Is an ex-student from the school. He met with an accident and is now left with amputated legs. He needs a wheel chair to get to school, medical support and therapy. He is stranded at his home with no help what so ever. He was in tears when I met him and when I asked him what he would like me to do for him, he replied " nothing I want to end my life". He wants to study and come to school and we must find a way to equip him.
The Keradamattam school- The lunch dining area has no roof, is under the sun and rain .. and there isn’t enough space for some of the classes which often gets moved to the dining area. The school needs a proper shed and roof over the kids, where they can study and have their lunch or assembly. The school doesn't have adequate drinking water, in addition to other pressing needs that are not listed above. These are just a fraction of the stories I had witnessed and heard of, while I was there.
I did what I could do with few kids that were in need of my help. Temporarily equipped Rathika with a Gas Stove, just so that she doesn't have to fetch wood. Replace their torn clothes and shoes with new ones for few kids. I thought I could solve all their problems one at a time; soon enough came to a realisation I need more helping hands, I then started to seek volunteers in Kearadamatam that would lend me their time and knowledge. I found Mr.Thamil ( another teacher at Keradamattam ) his friend Shiva and the school HM and her daughter Swathi. We have started a mission to help these kids, and, we need your help to join our mission. Your every second/penny will go a long way, and in return you will recieve abundance of love .
Action Plan for moving forward. For the school and students : Drinking water , Roof over the lunch room, Daily breakfast ( as many of the kids are not fed before school), more nutritious lunch, Clothes and shoes and basic needs for each kid, counselling for the kids, school supplies . a play ground equipped with outdoor games ( balls, skipping rope ext..) and a computer.
Further more, there are kids who need continuous support and guidance. I have about 26 kids in the school with a fractured socioeconomic position. Others are just slightly above the below-poverty line. We have a massive fundraising goal for Keradamattam. I have started the fundraising off by donating 2000 £ to the school . Your contribution will bring me closer to my goal and help my kids at Keradamattam. Thank you for taking your time to read this letter. As one of my sponsors, I will personally let you know how we do. If you would like further information, please contact me directly.
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- 5 months ago
Arrthy Vyas5 months ago
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Jul 23, 2018
Shuluxshana Ganeshamoorthy Zen
Jul 12, 2018
My small contribution for ur great job
Nirav and Rimple Patel
Jun 2, 2018
Great work, Arthy! Fantastic cause!
May 25, 2018
This is such wonderful work that you are doing Arrthy! May the children blossom and shine!
May 3, 2018
Great cause! All the best with the fundraising and I am sure you will do a wonderful job for the children. Anoop&Divya
May 2, 2018
Keep up the great work!
Apr 25, 2018
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