Sr. No. 172
“They went through their ‘goodies’ like a jeweller shifting through a variety of gem stones undecided and unable to rest his or her eyes on the most prettiest or most exciting.”
There is a quaint and tiny Zilla Parishad (ZP) school at Vivamura, a village surrounded by the majestic Sahyadris (Western Ghats), nearly 15 – 20 kms from Panchgani.
Surprisingly, this school has just five students aged between 4 and 8-9 I think. One of them is much younger and studies at a Balwadi (for KG kids) but he sometimes comes to this ZP school to study with older children from his village. There is one girl among them, Poonam.
The 5 students: Umesh Gavade, Pranav Gavade, Hrithik Gavade, Ganesh Gavade, Poonam Gavade.
The parents of some of these children are Mathadi workers (load bearers), and are employed at Mumbai docks and some other places where heavy loads have to be ferried on heads and shoulders.
They are very strong people, even though they are not heavy-built. Because when I saw the fathers’ of some of these kids I could not believe they could carry loads twice their weight on their heads and shoulders. Indeed, necessity is the mother of invention & strength.
Priyanka Chaturvedi donated school bags to these five children. She packaged each bag neatly, gift wrapped with shiny colourful paper, just as we would when we give expensive gifts to our privileged close friends or people above our own status.
And they were not ‘empty’ bags. Priyanka filled them with a lot of her love. A lover of stationery, an artist and writer herself, she bought each child an assortment of useful & colourful stationery too. Drawing and writing books – and tools to fill these with their dreams.
When the children opened their bags, in front of me at their school, I was pleasantly surprised by their ‘surprised’ faces on discovering their bags were full of an assortment of ‘goodies’.
They burst into an assortment of smiles and shy giggles on seeing them. They emptied all the stationery out of their bags on to the floor. They do not have chairs & desks and study on straw-matt. They went through their ‘goodies’ like a jeweller shifting through a variety of gem stones undecided and unable to rest his or her eyes on the most prettiest or most exciting.
Earlier to this, when Priyanka and I were discussing this donation, one of the five students, Poonam, being a girl, we wondered what we can add to Poonam’s new school bag that will be different from what the four boys are receiving.
We wanted to be gender sensitive (Priyanka had bought a pink color school bag for Poonam), and we wanted her to feel different – feel special amongst boys. Amazingly, both of us at the same moment, and in an instant, excitedly shouted – “hair clips!” Priyanka brought Poonam an assortment of hair clips, along with the writing and drawing stationery she gave all.
I have often seen rural school girls walk to school without footwear. However, rarely have I seen these little girls with their hair not oiled or not neatly tied with a ribbon or not pinned down in discipline with a colourful hair clip.
That morning at their school, looking at Poonam carefully putting away her brand new hair clips inside her new pink school bag, I wondered, maybe their mothers when they send their little girls to school they send them away wearing pretty hairclips hoping these angels, the hair clip, will look after their little girls through the day in their (the mothers’) absence.
When Poonam had firmly zipped her brand new pink bag with all her brand new stationery and hair clips locked safely inside, I noticed one hair clip was still clutched in her tiny hand. I knew then the one that will be her mother’s angel the next day.
This donation was made at
Zilla Parishad Primary School.
Village – Vivarmura
Headmaster – Shelke Amol Tatyaba,
Thank you Priyanka Chaturvedi and Advait Chaturvedi.
Beneficiaries of help: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.357090647765413&type=1