If you are walking down the right path and you are willing to keep walking, eventually you'll make progress - Barack Obama
I am not a person who is a huge fan of quotations but the philosophy I have tried to follow throughout my life was so succinctly expressed in this one line by such a great man that I can not help but open my monologue with this. I joined Teach For India(TFI), a people's movement striving to level the playing field in educational opportunities in the country to usher educational equity.As an environmental sciences major, I chose to work in the fields of Disaster Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development which provided me with an insight into the vulnerabilities faced by the marginal population of our country. From the flood ravaged parts of Eastern India to the crumbling fragments of the lower Himalayas documenting and following lives of people have often thrown up the stark contrast in accessibility to resources and information between the haves and the have- nots. A distant thought that was born from the helplessness in being in most cases a silent observer, a narrator or a researcher finally culminated in the decision to be a part of something organic and very tangible; a movement like TFI. The hope is to contribute my bit into a journey that hopes to nurture change makers among the overlooked and often bypassed. Isn't it true that almost always they are the most resilient? And our world could do with some positive change right about now.
So, I have started this leg of my journey as a TFI fellow teaching a bubbly bunch of 6th graders in SGV School in the almost remote region of Kadugodi. Why almost remote? On the google map it shows that Kadugodi is only 12 km away from Bengaluru but the clunky transportation services makes it seem like a much less trodden part of Karnataka. To the kids in my class, Bangalore is like the fantastical Diagon Alley ripped out of the pages of Harry Potter. My matter-of-fact responses regarding the city are met with incredulity and disbelief. They are a curious, enthusiastic and amazing bunch of wonders.
Within a week of our joining the school as TFI fellows, my cofellow Arjun and I were flung into the world of high need-low income schools, with classrooms with asbestos sheets, no electricity, poor ventilation, atrocious bench arrangement and a myriad of other mind baffling challenges. But through it all the smiling, vibrant faces of 100 hopeful faces kept our spirit up. It did not take us long to figure out that the mischevious Junaid and Pavan had mad football skills, Monika wanted to be a world famous writer and the tiny Vargavi was a fierceless leader in making. We also learned that our kids were the champions in football last year through the Just For Kicks initiative , which aims to provide equal oppornity in sports through intensive football training, coaching and tournament opportunities. Without proper equipment and infrastructure they have shown tremendous potential and we strongly believe that given the right opportunities some of them can change the paradigm of sports.
To help them continue with this wonderful journey that will empower them with leadership and life skills our TFI School team has started a fundraising effort to support the cause of Equal Opportunity in Sports for SGV School Football team. If you want to explore the journey further you can check out our initiative on this link.