Schools are shelters.
And here’s the necessary knock: Everyone is entitled to them!
Some are even named so.
I want to tell you about SHARANA.
It moved me and has touched and transformed the lives of many who did indeed find shelter in their school.
School drop-outs come in many forms. There are voluntary ones such as you who have experienced schooling and are in a position to make an integrated and educated choice about whether or not you wish to be part of an institutionalized system of education. And then, there are those who are forced out of school because their immediate circumstances are unfavourable.
SHARANA made salvaging the latter their mission.
Children come from all sorts of homes. Some don’t quite feel like them. Alcoholic fathers, overworked mothers, substance and sexual abuse, mental exhaustion, the responsibility to undertake laborious tasks too young and too soon. The world can break you even before you’ve begun.
Children are meant to be imaginative, playful and porous. Their minds and bodies are canvases, waiting to be filled with colour, beauty and inspiration, far from darkness, despair and desperation.
SHARANA repairs their damaged realities and restores them to their rightful state of progress and development.
In India, the responsibility to earn or care for younger siblings or perform household chores or help with agricultural and other labour-intensive activities have driven many children out of school and on the road (often and dismally, to beggary). SHARANA was established to drive them back in because education is the only known antidote to their socio-economic disadvantage.
Amongst several benevolent developmental programmes, SHARANA initiated the “BACK TO SCHOOL” programme to, as the title says, reintegrate school drop outs and children from vulnerable rural and socio-economic backgrounds into school. It consoled me to watch them receive therapy through art, listen to stories told to them in their tongue, play sports and games and engage in cultural activities to develop their personalities in entirety. This, of course, in addition to receiving supplies and a beautiful education.
One child after another, SHARANA is changing the climate of deprivation to one of opportunity. Traumatized children have metamorphosed into capable, young, self-reliant adults who give back not only to their families but also other children in whom they see reflections of their erstwhile selves. Students grow up to become nurses, teachers, chefs, various things and they want their salaries to pay for the education that salvaged, mended, groomed and empowered them.
Go see how it’s done X. Go see how the world is made better when learning is carried to those who will and must receive it. Go see how schools shelter, nurture and empower!
Here and waiting to hear when you have,
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