Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stepping foot in a gutter

Day 3- June 11th 2009

This was a very interesting day…we started with a talk with gangadhar about how the housing plans of the government work and how effective it has been. He also talked about the families in the community. Most of these families migrate to the village and back throughout the year. Even while talking to the families we found that when they travel to their villages for an elder siblings wedding or for other reasons, they don’t return for a relatively long period of time and so the children completely miss out on their education. When they return they have fallen behind and cannot join the class they were in the municipal school as before… these children were some of the main targets of parivartan.

Today the while walking around the area we found out that some of the families are really well-off even though live amongst the community alongside really poor people… we also found that the owners of these houses are not necessarily living in the houses in the community. The houses are rented to tenants who come from the villages.

We found a group of children who were denied admission in the municipal school as they did not have birth certificates. The parents have seemed to have lost them during the floods. Thus these children did not study. The mother however was extremely keen on sending the children to school. We took down her details as part of the survey for parivartan.

Another interesting character was a drunk man who came and started shouting at gayatri teacher and us and accusing the school as frauds…. This was because when he admitted his child on the school last year. The child did not get a place to sit and so came back home. After this, instead of the parent bringing the problem to the teacher he kept the child at home. Although this was wrong on the parents part we find that there is a new problem…space for the school. Parivartan school has had 3 centers from which one is to close down this year. From the other 2 centers, one is owned by parivartan and the other was rented out by a muslim priest who runs and Islamic religious school below the centre.

During this argument, another man who seems like an eminent person amongst the rest started shouting how the children were to study when they might just die of diseases because of all the trash and waste, muck and dirt in the stagnant gutter. There are mosquitoes and flies and thus every possible chance of disease in the area. The most unhygienic conditions ever. I stepped foot in this gutter too. And had my foot covered in black disgusting polish covered muck. It was nice that the kids found me water to wash my foot. I wasn’t the only one though… two other kids stepped foot in the gutter. Even thought the man is right in saying that the place needs to be cleaned up before any education is given….. all this waste is coming from themselves…. Education I feel will only help them to be cleaner…. Also everyone doesn’t seem to appreciate the fact that outsiders are coming to help for a certain purpose that is education. Although they are justified in their thinking I feel they don’t realize that we ourselves are students and don’t have much say. When many people are already fighting their cases. We have nothing to offer but our care and physical help…. We just have to hope that whatever little we can do will help them in some way.

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