School is a four walled building with so many things inside, the best part of every child’s growing up is spent in this wonderful abode of learning life! Knowledge, relationships, discipline, health and hygiene, sharing, caring, playing, and a host of co curricular activities are all bundled in a comfortable and cocooned zone and the children imbibe all the tough lessons. Schools are the heart and soul of the children!
I have had the good fortune of going to a school that gave me all the comforts, convenience, amenities, infrastructure that any child would wish for. It was a hub of learning no doubt, but in addition to that, a plethora of good habits came as a bonus that has stood me in good stead till this time. Culture, wisdom, erudition, guidance, nurture, attitude to help, to empathize, to be civilized have all come to me on a platter!
But unfortunately, India is a country of disparities in income and opportunities and many have been denied the providence of pedagogy. Many of the schools not only in the rural areas but also in the cities are in dilapidated condition with not even a proper roof and building and the classes are held in the open. Rain or shine, the hapless children who attend the classes against all odds, are made to sit on harsh ground to learn the rudiments of ABC. Those which have the luxury of a building do not have toilets or basic facilities such as benches and desks or drinking water. In rural areas the situation is abominable to say the least. The children have to walk long distances to reach their schools and have absolutely no facilities or basic conveniences.
Most of the students in such areas are from the lower strata of society and attend school mainly for the benefit of the mid day meal scheme that assures them of one square meal at least! Free and compulsory education is a boon to the less privileged but all the same, the governments both at the centre and the states must back this fundamental right by providing the infrastructure, toilets, drinking water, play ground, text books, bags, uniform, shoes in addition to the meal scheme already in place.
It is in this scheme of things that lot of NGOs, media houses, celebrities and even individuals have pitched in with maximum support and bolstered the movement of free education with the necessary amenities. They have provided with the much needed succour and aid to make the children comfortable and make them eager to attend the classes. The zest and passion to be educated and also be better citizens for tomorrow are becoming a reality thanks to the unflinching support given by such organizations.
The “#support my school” is such a campaign with a mission to revitalize 1000 schools in the country to spread awareness on the importance of education and the programme is run jointly by NDTV, Coca-cola and other NGOs. To quote Vikram Chandra of NDTV – “When we began the NDTV Coca-Cola Support My School campaign back in 2011, the real motivating factor was one very simple realization – a realization that a large number of girls in our country are actually dropping out of schools because of one single factor, something as basic as not having separate toilets for girls.
A closer look at the situation put forward an even more startling fact that a large number of girls were actually opting to go to school but were then dropping out because they didn’t have a separate toilet. They would go home sometime in the middle of the morning and not return to school. This harsh truth seemed like a real shame and was a wake-up call to all of us, and this is how the idea of the ‘Support My School’ campaign was seeded.”
The journey from there on has been one of hard work and determination and this campaign has succeeded in raising huge sums of money and with the help of celebrities changed the lives of many school children. The compassion of the partners in a noble cause such as this is manna from heaven and the percentage of children attending school has gone up drastically.