Monday, 5 August 2013

A Tiny Inspiration

-Smita Routh

Smita is a Management Fellow with the Pratham Education Fellowship. She is currently managing the program in Jharkhand. You can read her complete profile here. This post originally appeared on her own blog on the 4th of August. If you enjoyed reading this piece, please check out her blog - "Smita Speaks"

Since my fellowship with Teach For India got over, I am missing the presence of kids in my life. Yes  I am enjoying my new job. But its something my heart aches for each day. So when I saw a tiny little girl coming to my office to drop laundry, I couldn’t resist myself from having a little conversation with her.

Her name is Rinki Kumari. Her father runs a small laundry shop right in front of our office. She goes to an English medium school and is studying in class six (though she does not look like not more than a 3rd grade student). They are seven sisters. They go to school from 6 am - 11 am and then work with their father in the shop or their mother in the kitchen.

Currently I am in Jharkhand to roll out a digital classroom program in 100 govt and low cost private schools. As soon as I heard about her school, I called my subordinate and asked her to visit there and check if we can implement our project. And everything fell into place! We trained two teachers of her school and within a few days, Rinki’s classroom will be equipped with a 32 inch LCD TV and audio-visual content for Maths and Science.

Last evening she came running to me when she spotted me on the road. ‘Didi mujhe pata chal gaya aap mere school  gayi thhi...’. I clarified that it was not me but I did send someone. ‘Didi kab lagayenge TV?’...’15th August tak lag jayegi’. She left with a big and bright smile and needless to say, that made my day.Yes I get frustrated at times while dealing with government officials, non-cooperative teachers and ‘uneducated’ degree-holders. But one tiny Rinki gives me the strength to tackle a hundred obstacles like that.

Thank you Rinki Kumari. You are my inspiration.

And thank you Pratham for giving me this opportunity to bring smiles into a thousand Rinki Kumaris.