Our hon’ble PM Narendra Modi has coined a phrase, “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao.” All of us are aware of, but do we effectively do anything? There are several children from the underprivileged background who hardly have access to education. There are organisations in the country who are striving hard to materialise the motto set by our PM and Shuruaat from Allahabad is one of them. ‘Shuruaat – Ek Jyoti Shikhsha Ki’ began its journey on 17th September 2016 as an initiative to educate the slum dwelling children. Founded by a 26 year-old young man, Abhishek Shukla, this initiative has taken a vow to educate and uplift the girl child. Their area of intervention is slums. It began with the Chungi slum, situated at the banks of Triveni Sangam. The initiative began with a group of students who dreamt of bringing about a change in the society. They began imparting education to the children from slums. Their idea of working towards a better future is to educate children from the slums by providing them with tuitions.
It took no time for the founder to realise that any effort to bring a change must start by educating the girl child. This initiative started with the following people namely, Shalini Yadav, Praver Tripathi, Anurag Kumar, Preeti Singh, Aditya Soni and Nitin Shukla. They are the ones who are neglected to a large extent. On speaking to parents, he found that they aren’t exposed to the most basic education as ‘sooner or later they must be married off ’. Lack of awareness, poverty and reluctance to let the girl child flourish are some challenges that they are dealing with till this date. Beginning with a small number of five to six children, today their strength has reached over fifty. Generating awareness is the first parameter of intervention that Shuruaat has strategized. They convince the parents to send their children to school, so they don’t have to go through the same ordeal that the parents are. “Creating awareness among the slum-dwellers about the fact that the girl child must be sent to school is a big challenge in itself,” said Abhishek when The Logical Indian spoke to him. “Back then Rio Olympics was in full swing and to substantiate our point;we had to cite examples of Deepa Karmakar, PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik. We said these girls are doing what boys of the country couldn’t. They are making the nation proud and so will your daughter, someday,” he added.
The journey from five to over fifty hasn’t been a smooth one but definitely has been rewarding, says Abhishek. They have successfully enrolled twenty girls to school this academic year. “We know often it’s difficult for them to leave their homes and attend classes.We provide them with any support they need, be it books copies or school fees. We just want them to come and study,” Abhisekh added further. The primary target of Shuruaat are girls and the demography of the students is 80% of girls. Students are within the age group of 12 to 18 years. A decision taken right from the beginning was that their effort will be to give the best quality education. Neha Kushwava, one of their students has performed exceptionally well in her board exams and also is working as a volunteer with them. “Educating the girl child is my primary focus.If I educate one girl today, she’ll grow up to educate a few more and the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ shall diminish in the long run,” said Abhishek.
Daragang, Chungi and Harinagar slums of Allahabad are the three action areas where the organisation functions. Harinagar and Daragang has problems exclusive to their respective communities. People in these areas are not as impoverished as the ones from Chungi but yet they lack awareness majorly. “Boys have a different set of problems.They are the bread-earners of their family. Asking them to attend classes might affect the family adversely,” says Abhishek. Thus they have a different approach to tackle this situation. Most of these children have a penchant for dancing. Recognising and nurturing their talent to shape an alternative career and giving them an identity, is what Abhishek is aiming at. They are enrolled in the best dance school of Allahabad. Their participation in festivals thereby accommodating them in the mainstream of the society. In Harinagar, Shuruaat also conducts adult education and one of the championing example is Radha dadi, a 70-year-old woman who learnt how to write her name within two months of attending classes.
On asking if he has any message for the readers of The Logical Indian, he said, “Even after seventy years of Independence, how far have we progressed as a country?Rural areas and slums are the worst hit regions where the girl child is neglected. Can we, the privileged section adopt one girl child each? Can we all get together to bridge exceeding gaps in the society? I believe, if we want a positive change, we surely can bring one.”
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