I am Kumar Kundan, 25 year old ,working in delhi metro. I come from a small town of Sitamarhi, Bihar.
This July when I was to head start my new session after summer, I thought of taking a break from the regular life of Delhi to a place where I could unwind myself and get some new perspectives. Dehradun was the obvious choice as I would be able to meet Dr.Satyendra Srivastava, (aka sachin), who also happens to be the founder of TISA that works for stammerers. This was the place where I learned to be ok with my stammering and live a meaningful life.
On 6th July 2018, afternoon, I took bus for Dehradun from Delhi and reached around 8.30pm at Dehradun ISBT, and from there an hour more for Vikasnagar.
Next morning I had the privilege to travel with Sachin sir to some 70 km distance away from Vikasnagar to a place called Jaunsar near to Chakrata Hills where SMTA ( a NGO ) was running school for the tribal kids. It took around 3 hr to reach there. Weather was moderate, not too cold.
Along the route to the school, it was beautiful to see small villages,up and down the hills as well as school kids walking to their schools. It reminded me of my own childhood where unlike the towns where school kids wait for their school buses to take them to schools, these kids mostly 5-6 in numbers walked talking with each other to their schools.
Some jeeps laden with vegetables, mostly potato crossed us on the way. Sir told me, it is these jeeps that fulfil the vegetable needs of the villages up the hills, in absence of fully fledged markets of the city. I was also told how villages up in the hills consist of mostly joint families where Economic challenges are shared together. If anyone from the family is employed in the city and earns money he takes care of their joint family back in the village thus compensating for the challenges that arises in the village life which mostly depends on livestock and local farming as their source of living.
We arrived at the school around 10.30 am. I felt joyful as it was the first time after my own schooling I was about to spend time in a primary school- that too in a mountain village.
SMTA is doing a great job by providing the standard educational opportunity to the kids which otherwise would have been deprived of, in the wake of Govt inertness to the needs of proper education reaching every section of the society.
On asking, Himanshu which happened to be a former student of that very school, told me that kids were coming from mountains as far as 1 hour away from the schools, some 8 kms from the schools. My feet would start trembling when I imagine myself walk up and down the mountains for hours every day just because school near home was not a reality.
Seeing those kids, I felt like even getting education was a luxury for me; still we used to complain about our schools against other schools in our childhood.
My notion about working styles of NGO took a profound shift when Sir apprised me about the hurdles coming due to lack of funding and govt apathy or say lack of understanding towards the challenges NGO like SMTA faces in their mission to provide quality education to the underprivileged section of society.
We watched a movie named ‘ THE BEAR ‘ with the school kids through projector. After that a feedback session was conducted where we asked about their views on the movie, the lessons they drew from it and if they had to ask anything from us. It was great to get an opportunity to interact with kids in the school.
I would say, it was a wonderful trip altogether and next time I will spend more time with the kids, as those were one of the most beautiful moments in recent memory.