The Okhla children wanted to paint their school for Diwali. Instead of coming to us and asking for money, they decide to do it themselves. They all contributed five precious rupees and bought all the material and then rolled up their sleeves and painted the school themselves. The result a pink school. Not my preferred colour for a school but that is what they wanted it to be an after all is is their school!
This make look like an innocuous piece of news to many. But it is far from that. This is the first time children have taken the initiative to do something that would make their school look better. And five rupees may look inconsequential to many but for these children it is a huge amount. They must have had a lot of convincing to do to get it from their parents.
It is a very special moment for all of us at pwhy and for me in particular. Okhla had from its very inception been a community initiative. It has also been steeped in the love of people big and small. It has been hit by problems big and small, bet it storms or trucks. And it has survived all as it is imbued with a rare spirit no one could ever destroy. The spirit of children willing to overcome all odds to reclaim their often usurped right to education.
It is these very children that we have let down time and again. We have done it again with the recent scrapping of the Xth Boards or the latest decision on IIT admissions. It is time we started thinking about them and making laws that would include rather than alienate them. But is anyone listening?
When I see the Okhla project I am filled with immense pride and joy. Way to go!