In between the high rises of Mumbai city, there are slums through which one just passes by. It was one of these slums that I visited in Oshiwara, Jogeshwari to cover the project of Ladies Circle 10, Bombay. Right next to a Mega Mall, which has all the up market brands, the slum located in Anand Nagar stands out in contrast. It houses four classrooms in different parts of the slum, which teaches more than a hundred students. They also have a computer room, which serves as the Jeevan Pushp Charitable Trust office as well.
Ekalavya Balwadi initially started with one room. It has been a difficult task for the Trust to convince the slum dwellers about the importance of education and how their children should study. Slowly, after much persuasion, they were able to get a room where they could take some classes. As the number of the students increased, classes were also held in the local temple. This classroom is still in use! From there, they acquired another room which now has the computer lab and also a classroom over it.
The Balwadi, which teaches till class tenth only, also provides school uniforms, footwear, mid day meals, computer education and medical training. This kind of platform has made a distinct difference to the lives of the children and their families, as rather than working in factories, they can now look forward to a brighter future. The biggest change has been the parents, who now understand the importance of education and are happy with the Trust’s efforts.
The ladies Circle has only recently taken up this project and started with sponsoring the mid day meal for three months. The cost of the project was Rs 25,000. They have now been requested to donate some cupboards for the offices and library, which they are working on. Before that, the circle had made two toilet blocks under the SARI initiative of the Ladies Circle. The toilets, which were done in a Versova School was made with a budget of Rs 100,000.
It’s difficult to take out time in Bombay and I was glad to see that the ladies managed to take time out from their professional and personal lives. It was also nice to see them bring a change in many young lives. I would like to thank Cr.Rakhi for taking time out to show me the school and also buy me a nice cold coffee after that!