Residents of NRI Colony, Mandakini Enclave, New Delhi were pleasantly surprised a few days back to see Dr Sanjay Nijhara, an orthosurgeon, in the colony park. He was giving a lesson on health and hygiene to the children of maids and drivers of the area.
The group of children he was teaching is called Eager Beavers. Well, eager they are! For they wanted to know from him how long it takes for one drop of blood to form and how many bones the human body has. In fact the Eager Beavers have a Facebook page too.
An initiative of the women living in the colony, the idea to hold classes for underprivileged children germinated during a routine residents’ welfare association meeting. An active member, Reena Khair took it up and ensured that it becomes a reality. She roped in other women in the area and started classes for these children. From four a couple of months back, the number of children has now swelled to 33, enough to be divided into the junior and senior groups. The seniors already study in Sarvodaya Vidyalaya and come here for additional help while the juniors don’t go to a regular school and are learning their basics here.
Inspired by a class on computers and Internet taken by a resident and professional, Rashik Kathuria, two brothers, Sameer 12 and Sagar 9 want to become scientists when they grow up. There are others in the senior group, like Ashneha 11, Neelam 11, Komal 9, Prashant and Ganesh 14. All of them are more interested in the activities at Eager Beavers rather than academics.
The teachers here keep the children motivated with a wide range of activities from writing on the board to role-playing and singing. They focus on teaching the children things that are of use in their daily life such as basic manners, English conversation etc.
“All work and no play is not a good thing. To keep alive their interest in studies, we encourage them to draw and paint, sing songs, recite poetry and participate in show and tell competitions, anything in which they can show their talent. Sports require discipline, confidence, team-work, patience and tolerance, which are essential components of life skills. They also prevent children from engaging in anti-social activities by navigating their energy in activities which are fun and productive,” says the sports teacher, Bunty who frames his lesson plan and activities accordingly.
The younger lot loves to draw and paint. They all enjoy coming here. Like all the activities. Kartik and Karan, both four years old love coming here for they get to eat and drink what the teachers get every day.
The teachers are always discussing ways and means of retaining the interest of the children. They were recently treated to the Walt Disney movie ‘Cars 2’ in the private home theatre of a resident and also showed them the Hindi movie Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
The children also love to sing both Hindi and English songs. The younger lot is given books on numbers and cursive writing. The good children have become better and the quieter ones have opened up much more and are doing way better than before.