Programmes to educate orphans in India
Dr Anil Channa
I learnt to tie my shoelaces, share my lunch-box (which was hard!), punch a bully, read and write, and became a medical practitioner.
I learnt to leave it all and pursue a dream.
I ‘learnt’, because I was taught!
I had the opportunity to learn; many do not.
I believe, “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
Every child deserves an opportunity!
We are all busy running our lives.
In countries like India, do we pause to think about the child who stops our air-conditioned car to sell flowers? He stands the whole day in dust and heat so that he can just have one meal a day. Have you thought of young children cleaning cups and glasses at the teashop or that of a shoe shiner? These hands should pick up books, not garbage.
They are children just like our own. They too have dreams and potential.
They do not need our sympathy. All they need is an opportunity.
Can we provide that opportunity?
Can we spare a thought for them?
Can we help them conquer their misfortune and dare to dream?
I had a dream; a dream of bringing a smile to innocent faces!
Toys last a season, money for a year but education lasts lifelong.
With this belief, I felt the urge to do something more meaningful with my life.
A year ago, I started ‘4Kids Foundation.’
I went to India and visited many orphanages and slums in Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai. I met scores of good people ready to help. I discussed the needs of the children living in desperate conditions. There was poverty and helplessness.
In December 2013, the Group began to interact with various orphanages and slum dwellers to assess the educational needs of the children. It became clear that unless these young minds were involved in academic and sports activities poverty will eternally stare at them as it did to their parents.
The children needed more than just academic help; the orphanages required support in terms of funding for food, clothing and infrastructural repairs. The children needed mentors who would invest time to build relationships and understand their individual needs.
Calling on my friends and colleagues in India and New Zealand, this small team met with positive response. Some were ready to volunteer time, some in fundraising and others in helping with running the programmes.
Our objective is to empower the orphan children and those living in desperate situations through quality, child-focused and family-oriented education and comprehensive healthcare.
It is also our objective to enable their creative self-expression and equal opportunities for meaningful participation in the community and to provide assistance to local orphanages mainly in the area of education.
This would include school fees, uniforms, books, stationary, additional tuitions, sports equipment, guidance, career counselling and vocational training.
We began the Project with 26 female children who were living in an orphanage.
We are proud to fund their education at a local English medium school.
The youngest child is in lower kindergarten and the oldest in Year 10.
They are all progressing well and the reports from school are encouraging.
We arranged medical examination for all these children and found that many of them have never had vaccination. Some of them suffered from anaemia and poor nutrition.
We propose to provide an in-house library for the children and supply computers for use of the older children.
Last year, we started a literacy programme for 54 children in Mumbai.
These boys and girls, aged between five and 11 years are from the slums of Versova.
We were very fortunate to get help from Kaul, a philanthropist and educationist, who allowed us to use his school premises.
We are running two classes, each comprising 27 children. They are being taught age- appropriate curriculum by trained teachers.
As these children acquire knowledge, we will induct them into regular schools.
Agents of change
I believe that children are the agents of positive change for a better world and are a vital human resource.
I am sure that some of these children will be tomorrow’s artists, academicians, politicians and performers. We are trying to provide the opportunity so that they can blossom into useful human beings for the community and become an invaluable human resource for the world.
This is just the beginning! Our goal is to increase the number from 80 to 800.
But we need help from everyone. You can help by donating money, time or expertise.
Please visit www.4-kids.org.nz
Dr Anil Channa is a successful medical practitioner with decades of experience and expertise. He devotes much of his time now in providing for the poor and downtrodden in India. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org