My tryst with NGO’s started with a motive of getting a different experience but it stayed on cos of the fulfilment I derived from it. One of the best things about an NGO is the amount of work we get to do and the difference we get to see. It always is a matter of pride being a part of change in whichever small way we can.
The NGO I am going to write about is DivyaDeepa trust. Housed about 12 kms from my place, going to the NGO was always a pleasure cos the people I got to meet were someone outside of the work place, it was a place where we came in voluntarily cos we wanted to do something and the motive was definitely a fulfilling one.
I loved the environment at Divyadeepa, it is very different from the NGOs I have been to. The projects we were involved with, the projects the students were involved with were very different and heartening. It is an NGO which works on education of the underprivileged classes. It is education with a difference. Fondly called “Kaliyuva Mane” which means learning house, the place always feels like a home whenever we visit it. When you visit this place, you would be astounded by the comfort the kids establish with a visitor. Their language is impeccable and you would be surprised for the English they speak and almost all of them come from a rural background and from underprivileged classes.
The kind of classes that go on are quite different, students are not forced to sit in a class because of their age, they can attend classes depending on their comfort of learning. There is no one size fits all arrangement here, the kids learn at their own pace, they all value education and the education they receive is not just the bookish one, it is value based education. It is an interesting prospect to define value and education since it is so easy to link it up with ethics, morals, philosophy, etc etc etc but what I find most exciting was that this was more of life skills, the ones that make you survive and co-exist in the society, not just the ones we are used to in the formal education where you would still end up a topper if you mugged up a few lessons, we all realize how trivial it sounds now, but when I was studying I was sure that marks were the most important thing in the world.
The students here are more like a family, they are about ownerships more than responsibilities, they know how to keep the surroundings much better than most sophisticated ones in the society. They know about conservation of water, rainwater harvesting, using renewable sources of energy, conservation of water which most people in the upper front of the society don’t even acknowledge! They know about sustainable development and live it through their actions contrary to what we see in the society today. They are very well adept with the banking terminologies which I find hard even to this date. They have a banking system, a small shop run by the kids where they learn about transactions and realize how important financial part is in the day to day life.
I think it is high time our educational system went through some changes. This was the first time I was introduced to the Aurobindo school of thought. I think this is one of the best models I have come across and the kids here are really smart, capable of doing a lot more things. I know it would be juvenile to ask for a funding for this one, but I think it is an institute which is doing a great job and deserves to be supported in the right direction. I would highly recommend someone who wants to make a difference to this place like someone did for me and to this day I am very thankful to know such an institute exists and works in a positive front where the need is high and the difference is a necessity.