By Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH—It might seem a bit unusual in the City Beautiful (set to become education hub) for a passerby near Sector 17 bus stand where small children pensive, subdued, underfed and ill-clothed casually toss back their disheveled hair, bend over their copies scribbling a few alphabets, nurturing a dream of ‘making big’ in life. Nothing disturbs them. All this now has become a part of their day work.
These are the unfortunate children whose parents work at various construction sites in Sector 17. Curiosity rises high when they are being taught by a foreigner. As it does in the city, touching their life in a way unimaginable when they are scouring through garbage dumps and cannot look beyond the garbage dump. For them, the UN Declaration of Child’s Rights is like a rag to sell it out for a few coins. Responsibility of such children is taken by Youth Technical Training Society (YTTS) a literacy and numeracy NGO imparting education to unfortunate children in the city. It runs 15 such centres. Under an exchange programme with AIESEC (Association Internale des Etudiants en Sciences Economiques et Commerciales), Caoli, a student from China landed at the Chandigarh airport last month as its volunteer for 40-day of her internship with such children. After completing her assignment, she will be given a certificate.
AIESEC is a non-corporate world largest student driven organization present in over 110 countries and territories with over 60,000 volunteers. It has 60 years of experience in developing high-potential youth into globally minded responsible leaders.
While talking to this reporter, Caoli stated that AIESEC was an international platform for students to discover and develop their potential through leadership positions, conferences and international exchange programmes. “It helps to understand and assess our experiences and motivation for a cause,” she added.
“I come to India for the first time and quite unknown to Chandigarh. But here I find people very cooperative and warm. I shall leave with cherished memories of Chandigarh.” said Caoli. Fate of children was similar across the world and China was no exception to it, she said. At the airport, when she was in perplexed mind, a guy came to her rescue. He gave her Rs 2000 and dropped her at appropriate place in Sector 17. It was a very touching moment of her life she disclosed.
Only child of her parents, she daily traveled from a village to the school in the city. Her father works as a fireman in Beizing and mother is a home wife. She wanted to be a teacher to contribute a bit to the life of such children in China.
Kamlesh Arora, teacher at the centre, joined YTTS 12 years ago, told that the teaching schedules were adjusted as per their convenience. As the children have to extend their tiny hands either at construction sites or scouring through garbage dumps or collecting empty bottles near liquor vends to augment family income. “We hold three shifts providing education to 26 such children, six of them are talented.” She said.
Children are being provided with study materials free of cost, food and homely environment enabled them to forget their past said Arora.
But still scores of such unfortunate children would find themselves out on the road or streets begging, helpless and without a friend. EOM