Our kids come from under privileged backgrounds with both parents generally illiterate and working as day wage workers. Most of our children have many siblings with the elder ones needing to take care of the younger ones while parents are busy working. While our kids are at home they have to face various elements common to slums, addiction, violence, gambling, poverty and the worst of them all- indifference.
If left on their own most of them would believe life was meant to be difficult and that poverty is a condition that one lived with. With little encouragement or attention most boys would grow up to work as daily wage workers and girls, married at a young age would just raise kids.
What LEAD offers to them is what a kid generally should get at home that is attention, love, people who care for him or her and those who offer an opportunity to learn and thrive.
We at LEAD have observed the direct impact of this loving environment on their behaviour and thinking, many now dream of getting out of the constant poverty and realize the role that education will play in fulfilling this dream.
Other than that our kids are like other kids some are funny, some serious, some like dancing while some like cricket, they all have their favourite subjects, their favourite teachers, in short all our kids have personalities. And like all proud parents we are proud of them.
Like said earlier, the communities where most of our children come from are slums, with parents working on daily wages and due to the nature of their jobs they do not have a fixed source. Many of the families are on the move with no fixed residence either.
When we first approached the parents of some of the children to get them admitted to schools, they were naturally wary. It took consistent efforts on our volunteers’ part to convince them about the importance of discipline and regularity during their wards’ schooling. And slowly with time and persistent visits, we gained their trust. Over the two years that we have been working with them, they are mostly supportive of our efforts and help us in whatever we ask of them.
In one case, parents observed the change in their kids and appreciated what LEAD has done for them, so much that they handed over the responsibility of two of their kids (Anil & Sunil) to LEAD volunteers (Rupesh & Nazia) back from Vasai where they had relocated to Airoli so that they could continue their studies.
Now, due to the good rapport that we share, new initiatives are easier to plan for and they even convince their neighbours & distant relatives to let their kids go to school, which is one of the biggest achievements of LEAD.