Strengthening children with the power of education

A young child named Shivam is a playgroup student at the learner centre of HFHF, in Delhi. In the class, he was neither willing to speak to anyone nor was ready to read or write. His fear in the class was palpable from day one, as he always looked uncomfortable.  For a few days, he quietly distanced himself from the class room activities. “Ma’am, Shivam was beaten up by his teacher, on day one, when he went to a nearby school. So he got scared, never went back to the school and hence keeps mum in the class” explained Shivam’s elder brother who was concerned and worried for his younger sibling.

Small talks, stories, rhymes, games etc. in a child friendly congenial environment are a part of everyday learning at our centre, however nothing proved helpful to break the ice for Shivam. It was difficult to win the trust of this tender heart in the class, as his emotions were tarnished badly because of an untoward incident, when he had gone to the school for the first time. He felt insecure in the class.

It was terribly cold when Shivam had started coming to the learning centre. He used to walk barefoot each day.  Understanding his painful situation, he was given a very humble gift which was the need of the hour, for his tender feet. He got a gift of footwear which came to him as a pleasant surprise as he had never received any gift. As soon as Shivam opened his gift box, for the first time he smiled in the class. It was a moment of joy for each one of us who were there in the class.  It was an ice-breaker for us, as we were close to win the trust of the little boy.

After a few days, Shivam came with his parents for the parent teacher interaction session. During the session, we had emphasized a lot on the importance of child friendly positive environment for their holistic development and negative effects of beating children. His parents were happy to hear the positive feedback that we gave on their ward’s cleanliness and punctuality. The child and his parents were motivated each time when we apprised them of all that was good about the little kid. His parents had agreed that they would treat him with utmost care at home and would never beat him.

A new day had begun, when Shivam entered the class with a smiling face and looked fearless. He was at ease and had started responding in the class. Now, he was more comfortable in the classroom environment. We realized that the parent teacher interaction had proved to be the icebreaker, as it helped the little child to shed his fear and sense of classroom insecurity. Since then, Shivam is a happy camper and is putting in all his efforts to be active in the class. Love, compassion and sense of security was what the young boy was looking for, in the class. We gave all that and the outcome is a calm student who is ready for systematic learning.

About the program (PADHO):

The project “Padho” of HFHF revolves around underprivileged out of school children. We work with such children to bridge their learning gaps, so that they can be mainstreamed in the formal education system, as education is a must for every child. Our classroom activities like storytelling sessions, short videos, team building exercises, games etc. encourages children to think, explore, stay focused, learn the importance of teamwork, and overall, how to evolve each day to become a good human being.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Two little sisters named Alpana and Ujala live in Delhi with their parents who work as farm labourers. These 7 & 8 year old young girls were absolutely clueless about practices that were conducive to health. They wore dirty clothes and their hair used to be unkempt most of the times, as their parents were unable to buy toiletries and hardly had any time to look after the daily hygiene practices in the life of their children. In winters, these kids would seldom take a bath, however would reach the learning centre, on time for their classes. The poor personal hygiene of Alpana and Ujala was a serious concern and it rose a notch higher because of the pandemic.

We planned for a session on “WASH” and conducted it for the underprivileged children.  During the session, we also came to know that these young girls were never taught to brush their teeth, at home and hence, had no idea about everyday dental hygiene. The self-esteem of these girls was at stake, as other children who cared for their hygiene chose to stay away from them.

Family hygiene poverty issue was affecting Alpana and Ujala each day, however, the two of them remained very active during the “WASH” session. They both had enthusiastically answered questions that were asked during the session and had actively participated in other activities. Lesson on good hygiene practices and its significance was a new learning for the two little girls. Throughout the session, they had demonstrated willingness to learn and were happy to get toiletries as goodies. Both the girls had agreed to encourage each other and their other siblings at home to follow good hygiene practices.

Regular motivation has encouraged Alpana and Ujala to keep themselves clean, They now brush their teeth, comb their hair and have also taught their siblings to use plant twigs each day to clean their teeth.

About the program:

WASH program is conducted to sensitize disadvantaged community members on importance of clean water, hygiene and sanitation for a healthy life. Children, women and others members of our society are encouraged to acquire good hygiene practices and focus on sanitation to stay away from diseases.