Sumanti Sen is an English Literature graduate who believes "there's just one kind of folks. Folks.".
We have all grown up being told how important education is to earn a decent living. School life has played a major role in grooming and shaping us into the people we have grown up to become today. An environment that gives us education, grooming and friends play a huge role in giving us a healthy life.
For 55-year-old Madhu Kulshrestha of Agra, Uttar Pradesh, education has always been of great importance. Being a homemaker, and having no dearth of responsibilities to run her household, she was unable to fulfil her dream of opening a school.
Madhu’s house is located in an area close to a slum. She would often see kids from the slum running around and playing in the locality. That is what their lives revolved around, because education was definitely not something their families could afford. Looking at the kids, Madhu would get a strong urge to do something for them.
So one year back, Madhu decided to begin her journey by teaching the two children of her household help. She started by giving them the basic education they were deprived of, perhaps for generations.
“When I saw these kids, I kept wondering if I could do something to groom them. After I began teaching these two children, word of mouth spread and parents of other kids from the slum began bringing their children to me. With time, as I continued to teach them, I realised how much better my own life had started to become. Some of these children did not know how to write a single alphabet. Talking was the only way of communication for them,” Madhu said in a conversation with The Logical Indian.
In a year, the number of students in Madhu’s class grew from two to nearly 80. Her students range from children from LKG to class VII. While she teaches all subjects to the little ones, she focuses on Mathematics, English and Hindi when it comes to older children.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Madhu’s daughter Jagrati said, “I am proud of my mother. Most parents think about giving their own children a happy life, but my mother has always thought out of the box. For her, the children she teaches are as dear to her as her own children are. The last year I have seen my mother dedicate her days completely to help these kids grow. I work in Bengaluru and my sister is in the US, but my mother does not visit us because she does not want to take a break from her classes.
She further added, “Even when we visit her, we dedicate most of her time helping her teach these children. My parents have always stressed the importance of education and sports to us during the time we grew up. Today, I feel happy to see that these children are growing up the same way we did, with the same values and beliefs.”
Madhu believes that education is important but it is just a part of a healthy life that you can give a child. For the children’s overall development, she conducts games, dance sessions and other activities.
“My main aim is to give the children a joyful life, and only teaching them is not enough. This year, I have arranged for the kids to play Holi at my place. Seeing them happy is the only thing I yearn for,” Madhu said.
Madhu’s husband, who was with the Airforce earlier, voluntarily retired and began working at the telecom sector.
“On weekends, my husband dedicates his time to help me teach the children. I have always had his full support. Recently, we have started preparing some of these kids so that we can get them admitted in Novodaya Vidhyalay. I never take any money from these families, but when I see the children running towards me with smiles on their faces, when they touch my feet and when their parents express their joy to me, I feel blessed. That is my reward. My door is always open for anyone who loves to learn,” Madhu said.
The Logical Indian appreciates Madhu Kulshrestha for her selfless service, and her kindness and compassion towards children who are often deprived of a healthy life.
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