They say, sometimes an idea can change your life. In this case, the lives of 25 children were turned around with one idea. For close to five years now, senior citizens Bhailal, Subbarao and M Narayan Rao have been quietly running an informal school near the Matrusri Nagar temple park area in Miyapur for children of labourers working at construction sites and security guards of neighbouring buildings.
Over 25 students, in the age group of 5 to 8 come to the Sandeepani School daily to learn basic concepts in science, Math, and languages like Hindi, English and Telugu. “We also have a full-time teacher responsible for their learning; she is on leave currently, so we have hired a temporary teacher till she returns so that the classes don’t stop,” says Bhailal, a retired bank employee.
The idea for an informal school came about after the retired bank employee came across a similar school being run by the Reddy Foundation near the Calvary Temple area. “There is a large open space in between building construction sites where the property developer had built a large room which had been abandoned. The foundation was running an informal school from this room for quite some time. Close to 55 students would come and study there every day; but things went haywire after the foundation suddenly stopped the classes,” recalls Bhailal who decided to continue the school and spoke to his friends about it.
Together, they found a teacher who was paid through funds donated by some senior citizens in his building and the school started running again. “We closed the school some six months ago as the construction of the buildings was completed. So, the children of the labourers stopped coming,” adds Bhailal.
Now, classes begin from 10 am till 12 noon everyday at the school in Matrusri Nagar. The senior citizens, in turn, also spend time with the children and divide the younger ones into smaller groups and teach them alphabet and nursery rhymes. “Now, one of the retired employees has decided to donate Rs 3,000 for the teacher’s salary,” says Bhailal.
For now, the group of elderly men and women are content with the existing setup, but they do plan on constructing a small room in the park area in the near future.