On 13th January 2015, with our group chairman Mr. Parag Shah and his family, all of us visited a school in Bavla (around 30 km from Ahmedabad) which is run by the National Association for the Blind. It was a special day as Mr. Parag Shah’s late father Shri Rameshbhai Shah was born on 13th January, 1939. He left for his heavenly abode at a very early age but his blessings remain with us to this day.
There is not a single doubt in the fact that education is the most powerful catalyst for social transformation. However, child education cannot be done in isolation. The school is under NSB, however, they are an independent organization, and are authorized to collect donations in cash and kind. The school is well-managed by people who devote their time to manage all day-to-day affairs. The school has a strength of 165 students; most of them are from nearby areas and belong to the most under privileged class whose parents work as daily wage labourers. The school provides free primary education, 1st to 8th standard, to all students along with one meal per day. The medium of teaching is the school is Gujarati.
The school is a completely different world. Many kids have never even seen a movie theatre in their lives let alone other privileges. What we saw at the school was touching as children whose parents could not afford even a single meal for them were so happily enjoying their learning. What really moved us was; in spite of having little infrastructure both – the students and the teachers, were happy and satisfied. The school also provides sewing and stitching training to girl students.
State Bank of India has donated a school bus to the school, to pick children up from nearby villages. Many factories around the school provide them with free rice, flour, and oil regularly. The main motivation for some of the students to attend the school is the meal that is being provided; otherwise it is difficult to convince parents to send their children to school. Individually, we tried our best to improve the infrastructure at the school by renovating the computer lab, and providing a completely functional computer lab and all required furniture items.
We had a great time with all students who welcomed us in their own special way. They showcased their skills and talent which proves the fact that if they had enough opportunities, they could achieve big in life. The purpose of this communication is to share what we saw at the school and what collectively together we can do for them. Philanthropy is self-induced. When God has given us more than what we need, it is our duty to give back to the society in whatever way we can.
Education is both – the means as well as the end, to a better life. The means because it empowers an individual to earn his/her livelihood and the end because it increases one’s awareness on a range of issues from healthcare to appropriate social behaviour to understanding one’s rights. In that process, we help these children develop into a better citizen. We can all contribute together to bring about a change in these kids’ lives. All contributions made in donations to us are Tax Free under Section – 80G of the Income Tax Act.