full circle

It was almost three years ago that two women of substance set up our Okhla school. The school was set up in a garbage dump for all the right reasons and much of what we set out to do was achieved and somehow we felt that nothing would or could disturb the pattern we had set.

We were in for a rude shock as yesterday we were told that the local politician had dropped by and decreed that our ramshackle structure would be raised to the ground and that a new building would be built that would house a school bearing her name. It was almost as if the clock had turned back 5 years to that wintry day when our tent was destroyed in a Giri Nagar park with promises of another building.

We had come full circle once again.

The first reaction was undoubtedly anger, dismay and hurt. The thought of having to see our neatly organised class space with its mud murals brought to nought seemed outrageous. It seemed as all our efforts were in vain. But as the news seeped in and the initial shock subsided one came to realise that perhaps there was more in this situation that met the eye.

If three years of unabated struggle and dogged determination to carry on our teaching in spite of everything had made a politico want to create a space for children and run a school, then we had achieved the goal pwhy had set for itself: to make the community aware of the importance of education and children.

Many of our early supporters still wonder why we left Giri Nagar and sought other pastures. Our answer is simple: 7 years back Giri Nagar had no structure for children; today it boasts of 4 NGOs that run child related activities making us almost redundant and though our pride took a blow when we were ousted, the greater objective was achieved. I guess the same applies for Okhla if what we have been told is true. If what once was a garbage dump and a haven for drug peddles becomes a school with play grounds for children, we would be fair in giving ourselves a pat on the back.

As for us we will once again find a place where children roam the streets and start all over again.