The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence…Denis Waitley
The future of children is shaped by the love and care that is bestowed upon them, the environment in which they grow up and the guidance and direction that are provided to them to develop and excel. However not all the children are fortunate enough to fulfill their dreams, nor find the best of circumstances to live the life of their dreams. For them, earning their bread and butter becomes the primary objective of their life and they are forced to help their parents very early in life.
These children also have a dream to fly high, they have their passion for arts and science but they hardly get the moral and financial support to pursue those. But there is hope; social organizations like Srijan Foundation and SurManjari strive to recognize the potential in these children and dedicate their time and resources in uplifting these children of the economically weaker sections of the society.
School of Happiness was started way back in 2001 in Kishangarh, New Delhi by Srijan Foundation, with an aim to nurture these little children and help them grow in their chosen area of interest. It is a non formal after-school which the children attend to develop their skills in English speaking, in extra curricular activities like music, dance, sports etc. The School also helps the children develop technical skills to cope up with the needs of the time.
The school has been participating and excelling in several events thanks to the hard work, belief and constant encouragement from Rahul Dewan, the founder of Srijan Foundation and Retired Army Officer Col Ramakrishnan who has been at the fore front of the School of Happiness.
It is with similar intentions that the Skill’UP’LittleMore project was started by SurManjari which happens to be the Social Welfare wing of Factorize. SurManjari is a Music Education and Music Therapy Foundation which offers music education and Applied Music and Rhythm Therapy [AMRT] to people of all ages and stages. Conceptualized by Ruma Chakravarty, the Skill’UP’LittleMore project is an effort towards the holistic development of children from the weaker sections of the society. This project is considering a few creative & self-development courses to get the children trained & certified in those courses from reputed institutes as per feasibility. In normal circumstances, these children may not be able to opt for those skills or certification. In the words of Ruma, “The idea is to open some possibilities for the children and give them a direction, which they might be able to extend to mainstream studies/ degrees or profession when they grow up”.
SurManjari’s first batch of students is from the School of Happiness whom Ruma Chakravarty proudly calls as ‘angels’. The classes started in June 2018 for a batch of 10-15 children. The classes happen on weekends and it takes tremendous effort both from the teacher and the students to keep the program going. The children are learning fast and enjoying it too. For them learning is fun and they love the time they spend at the school.
Only 4-5 months down the line they got an opportunity to recite the Durga Vandana on Durga Sapthami (7th day of Navratri) at the Minto Road Durga Puja, thanks to the enthusiasm of Col Ramakrishnan and the efforts of Ruma Chakravarty. The children enjoyed the event thoroughly and apart from the recitation participated in a few fun activities too. Post the event they had stories to tell to their friends and an experience to narrate. These kind of little exposures go a long way in building the confidence in children along with imbibing in them the love for their culture.
There is a long way to go for these children to get fully trained and certified in the Hindustani Classical Music programs but the day is not far thanks to the dedication of the students, the faith and patience of Ruma, and the continued support of Col Ramakrishnan.
These attempts at giving back to the society go a long way in shaping the future of the nation…kudos to those who spare a thought for the less fortunate.