July 27th, 2017
In his childhood, Amar never had the chance to play with toys or to wear fancy clothes.
A 34-year-old now, Amar Shrirang Pol was raised in the slums of the Industrial Estate in Marketyard, Gultekdi in Pune. His father was an auto rickshaw driver, and mother, a maid, thus Amar got a taste of poverty right from his childhood. Working hard, he studied in the Sant Namdeo Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) school, and it was then that he got a true picture of the wondrous impacts of education. Amar shared his amazing journey with The Logical Indian.
A socially-driven person since childhood
At the age of 17, Amar joined the National Service Scheme (NSS) in school. He started teaching around 25 illiterate men and women in his neighbourhood as a volunteer for six months. Amar worked hard and his efforts were acknowledged by Pune Municipal Corporation. Subsequently, he was asked to take the responsibility for the entire Gultekdi ward which had nearly 1500 adult illiterate women.
After the six-month long stint, he continued teaching under the program called ‘Each One Teach One’ campaign where 9th and 10th class students from different slums helped him achieve the target within a year.
“I selected some students from 9th and 10th std and asked them to start teaching from your family first. Eventually, 450 students from different slums joined as volunteers and started teaching illiterate people”, said Amar.
Amar successfully acquired permission to utilise classrooms at Sant Namdeo Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) School.
Bal Shikshan Manch
Amar started an organisation in the year 1998, “Bal Shikshan Manch”, with the aim to satisfy the intrinsic educational needs of the children who are living in slums around Gultekdi.
Hard work always pays off. At the young age of 17, Amar worked immensely hard to educate himself, while educating others in his neighbourhood. He has now completed Mastera degree in Arts, Social Work and Journalism, and his Bachelors in Education and Arts.
He received his education while educating others.
Amar is now looking forward to getting his PhD done.
In his organisation, Bal Shikshan Manch, the day starts at 5:30 PM in the evening, after the students finish their daily school commitments. The classrooms bearing 100 students, brimming with an undeterred enthusiasm. The lessons start with the revision of school work, then activities in art, discussion of current affairs, regular screenings of films on important issues, mentor sessions and other physical activities take place.
Annually, five different programmes are conducted by his organisation where students get facilitated, residential summer camps for slum kids, annual day, among others. Amar has also collaborated with colleges over the city to either waive off the students’ fees or let them be paid in instalments for those coming from difficult backgrounds.
Although since 1998 Amar and his organisation have helped and worked with more than 1000 children, he feels that this is just the beginning.
He discerns, “When every individual understands the value of education for all, I can truly believe that I have succeeded”.
On asking Amar about his message to the readers, he said, “Worries are everywhere, but if a person at an individual level thinks about the society and tries to contribute by making a change, it will surely help”.
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