Team Suhrid visited Nandelpada, Kaspada and Talyachapada on 23rd Jan, 2016. This was the first visit after the launch of big infrastructure projects at Nandelpada and Kaspada.
The visit at Nandelpada started at 10:15. During our earlier visits, we had to wait for all the parents to gather. However, they all were present in big number well in advanced. The meet started with the conventional worship of goddess Saraswati. The highlights of the speeches from the teacher, school committee head and Suhrid foundation are as under.
- All the villagers and teacher acknowledged that having water project (Automated water extraction using submersible pump, storage in overhead tanks and distribution to kitchen, toilets, rooms and outside) implemented in this year has made huge difference. Kids and teachers had to work hard to get the water for their daily usage. Not only the cleanliness has increased, even the kids have started drinking more water. It is important to state here that the villagers took care of the labor part in this exercise. This project was inaugurated by Mr. Uddhav Tupe, father of Suhrid foundation member Milind Tupe.
- As a part of the mid-day meal enrichment, we sponsor vegetables, eggs and jaggery. Nandelpada locals grow some select vegetables. They give the same either free or at throw-away price for the mid-day meal.
- Apart from the improvement in health, teacher mentioned that the kids have also improved a lot in their knowledge of English. Furthermore, availability of the sports items, is making them improve their skills.
- While the school committee head wholeheartedly praised the contribution of Suhrid foundation, we acknowledged the fact that it’s the teachers, who are helping us making it a better place.
Kaspada and Talyachapada schools are very close to each other. Hence, we decided to meet the parents from both the schools at Kaspada. Since the start in August 2013, we had observed that almost 80 to 90% parents are always present. We were pleasantly surprised to know that the number had exceeded 100%. Teachers informed us that some of the villagers, whose kids are not even studying in our school, have come to meet us, which clearly indicates that Suhrid foundation has now reached to the hearts of the villager and is not restricted to the only schools.
The event started by paying respect to Subhash Chandra Bose on his birth anniversary. To our surprise, the proceeding started with one 4th standard kid explaining the changes in their lives since our entry and expressing gratitude on behalf of the students. The highlights of the speeches from the teachers and Suhrid foundation representatives are as under.
- Kaspada school was considered as one of the most underprivileged school in terms of the infrastructure. While the teachers had will and support from the villagers, they did not have funds and guidance in general. As a first step, we had implemented the water project last year, which has ensured that their premise is one of the cleanest. They have been able to grow plants. We have observed that in most of the schools (not under Suhrid foundation), the kids wash their hands or plates using the running river water or stagnated water at the check dams, which is extremely unhygienic. Kaspada school has their own wash basin, wherein the kids wash their hands, plates using good quality soaps. Having done that still the appearance of the school was not good since it was on a slop and ground was almost in unusable form. We sponsored a complete leveling project, which involved huge amount of material and physical labor. Despite of the fact that the work started during the harvesting (all the villagers spend most of time during this period in harvesting), the villagers spend lot of time in completing the work. They supplied tonnes of soil to fill the land, stones and gravels to make the base and sand from river. They would have saved huge amount of money in this process. Quite a few of them did not have their kids in our school. At least three to four ladies used to get their infants at the site so that they can feed them and continue with work at the same time. The villagers kept their personal priority and constraints aside and transformed the school in such a way that it is at par with any other school now. It is a matter of personal pride for teachers and students to be associated with such a beautiful premise. Suhrid foundation expressed their gratitude and committed to carry out more projects in the interest of the school.
- Teacher summarized the journey in last three years. Though the initiative started keeping health in mind, it went beyond it. Kids have sport items, school books, floaters, tie, belt, I card, floaters from Suhrid foundation. The kids had some inhibition in terms of expressing themselves earlier. However, since SF’s association with them, they have grown in confidence to such an extent that they are winners in drama and speech competition. They have improved in physical and mental health to such an extent that they are in top teams at the Taluka lavel. Teachers have been able to inculcate good habits such as washing hands with quality soap, trimming the nails, using powder/oil, daily bath, washing their teeth post lunch etc.. Teachers acknowledged that they have been able to do so only because Team Suhrid started the petty cash project, which allows them to spend on these items, which can improve the personal hygiene, grooming and overall cleanliness.
- We acknowledged the contribution by one and all. We also expressed the desire to have the local authorities setup a primary health care center, wherein we can train some local girls in the area of nursing. This would help locals getting immediate help in case of emergency and the conventional problems can be addressed fast.
We distributed lot of sports items (Lagori set, bat, balls, Jumping ropes, Badminton set, football and volleyball). Apart from those, there were quite a few indoor games viz. Carrom, snake and ladder, Ludo, Lego Set, Mechano and few more innovative games.
It was quite heartening to see that anganwadi kids, who are not part of the schools, have already started attending the school instead of going back to home after 12.
At the end of the day, we could clearly see the difference not only in the infrastructure or the health but also in the mindset of the people.