Seven-year-old Gagan Narayanaswamy walked up to the CEO and Founder of Parikrma Humanity Foundation, Shukla Bose, one fine day and asked her a question – ”Why is so much money being spent for repair of roads and hospitals in Nepal while nothing is being done to get the damaged school buildings back in place?”
“I was at a loss for words and didn’t have an answer. That’s when and how we launched the ‘Heart for Nepal’ campaign,” says Shukla. The Parikrma Foundation runs four schools in Bengaluru and each of the 1,700 students is doing their bit to contribute to the cause.
Heartwarming tales greet us from the Parikrma Foundation. While one student has given up on his eggs once a week (the Foundation gives them eggs twice a week), a few have started walking to school to save the bus money and put it in the box set up in all the four schools.
In fact it started with Gagan but now children across the four schools have given up on their eggs once a week and even the Saturday breakfast that the school provides. “It is their big heart which needs to be appreciated here. As it is, most of them get to have food only at school and to even sacrifice that for fellow children in need is indeed a commendable deed,” says an extremely proud Shukla. Of course, the administration has made alternate arrangements to ensure that they do not go empty-stomach being from the poorer sections of society. They are given a glass of ragi malt and snacks at regular intervals to make up for it.
If that is not all, the students have even started writing small to save on paper in their notebooks. They intend sending their unused notebooks to Nepal. Little craft projects made by them are being sold at the school premises to anyone who visits them and money is being accumulated this way.
Interestingly, it is the students who have set a precedent for teachers at Parikrma. Teachers have given up on tea/coffee for one month and have resolved to give up on one day’s salary each month for the next one year, which is certain to raise a substantial amount for the Nepal victims.
The beneficiary school
The school building in question is at Phatpur village in Nuwakot district of Nepal. Situated at the base of the Mount Everest camp, this school was totally demolished and declared unsafe for the 360 children studying there. It is horrifying to note that two children have been buried under the debris along with many villagers as well.
The children at Parikrma need to raise Rs 20 lakh to build the school with 10 classrooms, a computer room and a library for 360 children.
To drive home the desired result, Parikrma is partnering with Ani Foundation of Nepal to get the school back in place. This time, they plan to build in a way that is suitable for high seismic zones to minimise casualties.
Parikrma has also taken up the responsibility of training teachers and helping out with the curriculum. “It truly shows that compassion has no geographical boundaries,” says Shukla who is happy to have inculcated a spirit of sharing in their children. They will also share some of the Parikrma best practices and send a delegation of teachers to Nepal to help the school get started with their classes.
A music concert is also being organized where Sufi singer Kavita Seth has offered to perform for free at the Chowdiah Memorial Hall on July 11 to raise funds and contribute ably to the cause.
A delighted Shukla Bose concludes, “Our children have taught us that even little matters and we welcome whatever anyone gives.”