A Home in Mysore: How a Nonprofit Organization in India Inspired Me to Teach Disadvantaged Children
- “Home For Learning” run by my aunt and uncle provides hope for the parents. Their children had a place to call home.
For several people, thirteen is a number, just like twelve, twenty, eighty, and one. However, thirteen, for me, was not just a number. It was the age when I was thinking about what difference I wanted to make in this world. How could I positively impact society, through my actions? I was contemplating several decisions, overthinking every single event in my life, and working to fit into a common atmosphere along with my peers. Little did I know that visiting a school in another country would do so much to instill a sense of clarity and ignite a beautiful spark within me.
There was a small town in Karnataka, India where my aunt and my uncle lived. Usually, when one hears of Mysore, one imagines beautiful palaces, temples, and the exquisite Brindavan Gardens. My aunt and her family lived in a specific region of Mysore where there were abandoned houses constructed using slabs of wooden blocks and sweat mixed with hours of dedication.
Children were playing with toys that their parents built for them using their bare hands. The sand was piled in several corners as beetles dug holes to hide leftover food. The trash was lying on the streets mixed with cow manure and fertilizer. The air was polluted with chemical pesticides which contaminated the freshwater lakes and reservoirs. In the middle of all the chaos, lay a school built from the foundations of sand and cement. Divya Deepa Kaliyuva Mane was standing with indestructible support. Kaliyuva Mane in the Kannada language means “Home For Learning.” The school provided hope for the parents of Mysore. Their children had a place to call home.
Ananth uncle was always an active supporter of impoverished children. Seeing kids who were struggling with financial needs to get access to education, he wanted to create a gleam of aspiration in their lives. This idea is what inspired Anand to create a school for children in Mysore. He believed that all children should have the same access to education regardless of their circumstances. Anand created a safe place for students who had disabilities and who were impoverished so that they could learn and be as successful as other students.
When I first visited Kaliyuva Mane, I was astounded to see how colorful it was, surrounding the piles of debris and beggars on the streets near Lingambudhi Lake. Teachers were hired not because they wanted to earn money, but to rather spend time educating the needy. My aunt and uncle worked together to paint the classrooms in the school and construct the tools necessary to provide children with education. They worked strenuously to create a learning environment that strived to create equality amongst all students. These children were going to be the next generation of entrepreneurs, engineers, and doctors who work to improve society and create a better future.
When I walked into the mathematics classroom on my first day, I saw a quiet girl sitting on a wooden chair writing in a composition notebook. Her eyes were concentrated on the sheet of paper in front of her, and her legs were pacing nervously back and forth. I walked up to her and introduced myself. She said that her name was Bhoomika. Over the course of a week, Bhoomika became one of my closest friends. Bhoomika’s father passed away when she was really young and she has four siblings whom she has to take care of. Bhoomika’s mother had a difficult time supporting her family, and she often had to find ways to earn money by working jobs that provided her with insufficient funds.
However, Bhoomika was extremely independent. She knew how to take care of herself, and she worked hard to pass her tenth-grade exams. Communicating with Bhoomika helped me understand how many students struggle daily to survive. I learned that I should be thankful for what I have, and the opportunities that my parents provided me with in terms of education and basic necessities. My parents are immigrants who worked hard to get to where they are today. They are selfless individuals who traveled from India to the United States in the hopes to provide a brighter future for their children. I was thrilled to see that Bhoomika was able to create a life for herself. She is an inspiration to me who through her determination in work, indirectly taught me about how important it is to utilize the opportunities and resources you have to attain your goals.
After I visited Kaliyuva Mane Divya Deepa Charitable Trust, I finally realized my purpose in life. I knew that I wanted to contribute towards helping educate young children in society. I was interested in educating myself about students with significantly fewer opportunities. It was interesting to see how every student had their own unique background. The experience of visiting my aunt’s school in India made me want to brainstorm solutions that would help impoverished people have access to the resources necessary to support their lives and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
After visiting Divya Deepa, I started tutoring children who needed assistance in math and reading concepts at the school through an online platform. I got the opportunity to connect with these children and play a significant role in instilling insight and expertise. Additionally, I began connecting with several nonprofit organizations which aimed to help children get quality education in sub-Saharan Africa and East India.
It is important to ensure that we take action to help educate disadvantaged children. For instance, tutoring at a local school, and hosting fundraisers for organizations aimed at supporting children’s education, can do so much as make a positive impact on a child’s life. It’s time we start taking action to educate the future of our society.
Samikha Srinivasan is a rising senior at Robbinsville High School in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey. She is resolved to make a positive change in society by striving to provide disadvantaged students with quality education. She strives to learn something new every day. In her spare time, she likes to read and write books.