February 28th, 2017
Our country has a population of more than one billion people, and only one-third of them can read. Rapidly growing population, shortage of books, teachers and basic facilities and insufficient funds for education are some challenges faced by children. But, there are many people who have taken up the cause of education without worrying about pursuing an affluent career. One such person is Garima Vishal.
Garima, a 28-year-old graduate from Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow embarked on a journey to educate underprivileged children. She founded Dejawoo School of Innovation, a three-pillar education system that is different from the conventional schools.
Born and raised in Bihar, she was motivated to bring a change after seeing the distressing situation of the schools in her state. And so, she left her well-established career to provide an option for a better education.
The Logical Indian had a conversation with Garima who told us about her initiative and the remarkable changes she has observed in this journey.
Dejawoo! The name is very innovative. How did it all begin?
Thank you! I am an engineer and did my post graduation from IIM Lucknow. I am from Selra, a town in Bihar. My father inspired my siblings and me never to give up education as it is the most important tool to build an identity. I was the first female to graduate from the town and I felt it was my moral obligation to take up the education of the children of my region. So, while I was working for Infosys in Bihar, I met a few children from my neighbourhood who never went to school. It saddened me to learn that these kids were not able to attend school due to language barriers. So I started teaching them basic mathematics, English and Hindi every morning and evening before the office. When I had to leave, I realised that the children’s study would be affected again, so I enrolled them in private schools with nominal fees.
I moved to Muzaffarpur, Bihar and decided to set up a school there. There was no dearth of schools there, but they did not focus on overall development of the children. That’s when the idea of Deja Woo School of Innovation was born.
The name is a combination of Déjà vu+woo, Déjà vu means a feeling of having experienced the present situation and woo means happy feeling.
Tell us more about the school.
Dejawoo is a school that not only imparts education but also develops overall personality of children using innovative ideas that involve freedom of thinking. The school has implemented three pillars technique- students, teachers and parents.
Students are not only taught from the books but also focus on overall development. Apart from focusing on education, we also stress on moral and personality development.
Teachers – There are many highly educated women in the city who stop working after getting married. We started hiring these women and training them. We wanted mothers to be the teachers because they connect easily and understand the kids’ psychology easily.
Parents – Children spend 4-5 hours in school, and the rest of the time at home. So we involved parents in our quest as well. Usually, parents send away their kids when some guest comes. We told them that children should be made familiar with people who come home so that they are not apprehensive. Giving parents some glossary books, and few English terms that they could use at home with children worked well to achieve this.
So far this approach seems to be working well. Initially, it was difficult, but now as we are progressing, children are learning day-by-day and just cannot wait to attend school.
What is the ultimate goal?
I wish to give these children a platform to showcase their abilities so that they recognise their talent and utilise it in future.
The Logical Indian salutes Garima Vishal for her initiative and wishes her luck in future endeavours.