It all starts with just a phone call. A journalist named Nina, grown in the city of Mumbai. Born and raised in a middle-class family and live the life of an old school girl. Her social upbringing what makes her distinctive from the rest of her associates.
Nina works for the news enterprise. As a journalist, she travels a lot. She loves to connect with people and try to learn about other culture. One morning she got a call from her friend:
” Hi Nina, It’s been a long time Ravi here,” a voice said.
“Hello Ravi, yea Its been a long time. How are you? How is your work progressing?” Nina replied.
“I am fine, and about my work, I am a freelance filmmaker. Hmm.. can I ask you a favour?”Ravi requested.
“Yes, sure, what’s it about?” Nina replied.
“I am currently working on a short film on the tribes that live in remote locations like Leh-Ladakh, and I need a reporter with experience. That’s why I need your help in that,” he answered.
“I would love to go with you. I’ll try to plan a vacation for a week and hope it turns out well.” She rejoiced.
Nina was excited for this trip as this was the first time for her to visit Ladakh. Ravi was up to research and report a film on “Dards The Tribe of Drass.” The day arrived Nina and Ravi were ready for the journey. It took a day and a half to reach Ladakh. They were tired of travel, and it took another half day to adapt the climate change. The scenic beauty of Ladhak was always mesmerising, the other day they start their research over herders. They asked their travel guide to help. The guide took them to the valley of Drass, where the Mons and the Dards tribes live.
Nina had a thought in mind what kind of education do kids from remote area gets.
“Ravi, can we visit some other places as well after we are done with your film stuff,” she murmured,.
“Yes, Sure but where do you want to go?”, Ravi asked.
“School near the riverside.” she cheered.
Their search leads them to a small village, There they found a small school, a couple of huts and a small market. Nina and Ravi planned to take interview of villager and village head. They first interviewed Villagers and got the necessary details to compile. In the end, they visited the school near the river. It was a school of around 30 students all having education within the standard education system. Nina was curious about what it’s like to be in a school of a remote location.
Some kids were playing in the schoolyard, Ravi gathered some children and asked them a few questions. Ravi inquired about how much they like their school? Shina was the local language, Nina and Ravi asked their tour guide to serve as a translator between them. As the conversation goes on, Nina asked the little kid who is sitting in the back,
“Can you recite English alphabets?”. Generally, every education system had A for apple, B for ball likewise.
“….. I don’t know, I never know what the words actually meant”, the kid replied with grief.
“What’s your name?” she asked. She was curious about what’s wrong with the education here, was it different from other places. “Can you give an example? Like what kind of words?” she asked.
“I am Zanskar”. “….A for apple, B for the ball”, he continued. The kid hesitated to continue and stop in the middle, “…. F for a fan, I had never seen a fan before so how I can know whats a fan-like.”
Nina and Ravi were surprised after listening to him. Nina thinks about it while travelling back to Mumbai. The problem is the Education system is the same for all. Many people are living remote location where people had never seen what they were asked to learn and memorise. Whether in the City of Mumbai or a remote place like Drass. Since imagination is the key to everything If a system can’t help it out for all children at then who can.
Nina keeps thinking about it. Its been a week of thought process, however, it’s difficult for her to come up with a reasonable solution. She took advice from her parents. She asked her friends for their help. Also, few of them helped in her cause. Nina started her non-profit organisation, with a motto “Special sapling needs special care.“
Nina and her team worked hard and designed an education system that fits for various situations. They change the words in textbooks. The content was replaced with phrases and terms of the local vocabulary. To provide a better perception of what’s been taught. They started the initiative with the remote locations of Ladakh and Leh. It’s been 10 years since, the establishment of their institute named “AAP KI KAKSHA“.
A conference was held where students were awarded for their innovative ideas, that had a significant impact on the locality. Nina and her team were invited as the guest of honour. As the event proceed the name of winners were called on the stage. A familiar name was announced on the scene. “Master Zanskar, please come on the stage”, anchor announced. Zanskar was the same kid that Nina and Ravi had met in Ladakh. “Master Zanskar secured first prize in social entrepreneurship challenge.”, Anchor announced with joy.
Zanskar comes to the stage, and he was asked to say a few words. By this time Nina recognised him. “In my childhood, I was not so good with alphabets. At that time, I never know what’s a basic word ‘fan’ like. And now I am standing on the stage. I never lose my hope and the will to learn from experiences. Then some people organised campaigns with the name ‘AAP KI KAKSHA’, and I learn a lot, become curios enough to think big and work on my imaginations.”
At the end of the event, he met Nina and said, “thank you for your hardship and efforts, I know who I am and what do I want to do in the future. Education is the tool that helps one to succeed, but you find the best way to learn by learning from our surrounding.”
“Education is the grounds on which we build our future”
Previously published at INYF.