25% of the world’s children are in India. India struggles to empower her youth- 50% of children do not attend school. High poverty rate in the country and low priority given to Education by many impoverished families 93 million people in India are slum-dwellers, many of whom are children.
These children will most likely never see the inside of a classroom. Many families prefer the children to start working and supporting the family as soon as possible. They do not see worth in paying the price(small as it is) for a Government school when they can get their children to start earning money.
How can we help to improve the situation?
In 1976, Dr. Subodh C. Gupta, the Founder and Chairman of JCBS, Inc a 501(c)(3) corporation registered in Washington DC saw a vision of improving the lives of the underprivileged children by educating them and providing them with opportunities to improve their lives. This vision to create a better future for these children was supported by the motivation of two sisters, now long retired, who always had a desire to make a positive difference, however little.
Mrs. Promilla Gupta and Mrs. Dipti Mithal , in a quest to change lives, started their mission of imparting education to the underprivileged in 2001, at Ramanuja Vaish Orphanage in Meerut, India. They set up 4 tables and 4 benches for a total of 90 children (40 girls and 50 boys) and taught them every day for 2 years. They hired male teachers for the boys and female teachers for the girls and organized all the students by aptitude levels. Ms. Gupta and Ms. Mithal’s scope went far beyond just teaching. In addition to schoolwork, they engaged the children in outdoor games to encourage physical activity and healthy socialization, and distributed awards for high performers and motivated students.
The District Magistrate of Meerut applauded the work of Ms. Gupta and Ms. Mithal
Even with the support of the DM and community, the Orphanage manager feared reallocation of power and forbade further involvement.
The sisters didn’t give up and in 2002, they rented out a house to teach the children. The children who desired to learn more would came
to the house after their school ended every day. This continued for almost one year.
In late May 2002, they started a school in a small village called Partapur, in Meerut.
There were 2 male teachers and one of them had himself been taught at the orphanage two years ago. They taught 70 children each year for 3 years. In June of 2004, they opened a school in Shastri Nagar, Meerut. They invited all the kids, up to 9 years old, from the slums and other impoverish areas around the school. For the first time, kids attended the school who had no previous education whatsoever. When the school first opened, children came in wearing filthy clothes, and were not bathroom trained. The teachers would sometimes help bathe them and gave them clean clothes before they started studying.