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A CLASS APART

GREGARIOUS – that’s how Nikita Shrivastava, chooses to describe herself. Currently pursuing BE from IET, DAVV Indore, Nikita is more than just gregarious: during weekends when most students head for parties or shopping, she goes to village schools to take classes for underprivileged students. Most of her work is routed through NGO ‘Dishanjali Education and Welfare Society’, which is founded by one of her alumni. In a chat with Team Fayz, Nikita talks about the plight of government schools in Madhya Pradesh and her teaching experience.

How did your association begin with Dishanjali?

What I enjoy the most is balancing my academics with extra-curricular activities. Be it anchoring, dancing, public relations, rampwalk or acting, I have done all this during the last few years of my college. But all these activities bring joy only momentarily. I wanted to do something beyond. My school teachers always said that I possess good teaching skills, and during first year of my college, when I got to know about Dishanjali, which is founded by an alumni of my college, I saw it as a great opportunity to do something meaningful in life.

How do you find time to teach underprivileged kids out of your busy schedule?

I too am a kid inside, and these children make such a huge difference in my life. The way they get excited the moment they see me is my driving force. Not all days are equally busy in college. So on the days when my schedule is not hectic, I go, and teach them in my nearby centre, Chitawad.

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What exactly are your other projects with Dishanjali?

Apart from teaching, we organise many events such as Independence Day celebrations, Raksha bandhan celebration, Diwali celebration, summer camps, birthday celebration of team member and kids, visit to Science centre, cloth donation camp, health camps and regular classes on weekends for students. We also organize dance competitions and singing competitions as well.

How do you describe the situation of government schools and its infrastructure?

This is a bitter reality, but most of the utilities that the children have have been donated. Books, pencils, notebooks are provided by Dishanjali. The furniture which they use are donated by Rotary Club. That said, lighting is really poor. Dark walls poor ventilation make it miserable for kids.

Also you have raised an important topic of school teachers being inefficient in government schools. Can you elaborate?

As I have already mentioned, teachers are happier than students when they spot us on the campus. They see us as a means to escape from their duty. Last time, when I went to take classes, a teacher immediately packed her bags and went home. Recently, a teacher even told me that her course has not been completed yet and she wants to go on a leave and asked me to complete the portions on her behalf. So this is the attitude of teachers. Should I say anything more?

As a young activist, do you have any action plan for schools in remote areas?

Currently, we at Dishanjali work at nine centres. With the passage of time, when more like-minded people join us, we would definitely love to reach remote areas.

Any unforgettable moment/s during your trips or teaching stints?

One day when I went to take class, I noticed a boy who was terribly upset (because of a family issue). All the students were consoling him. When I saw him, I pampered him, and he stopped crying. Students told me that he had been crying for a long time. All students then wrapped me around their little hands to give a warm hug. They then brought their notebooks and asked me to write my name on it. That was unforgettable.

If you have similar stories, please reach out on
Whatsapp +919061207333 or email - info@fayz.in

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