From the Brick Kiln at Moj

My friend Kishor Kathole is a teacher at the Zilla Parishad school in Moj, a village in Wada Tehsil of Palghar district. A few days ago, he told me about the Katkari (tribal) children studying in his school. For the last two years, Kishor and his colleagues have been trying to bring these children to school, to get them interested in school work. These children have started attending the school, but they are not yet used to the school routines. They remain absent frequently, and those who come to school appear to be disinterested in whatever is going on in the classroom. The parents of most of these children work on the brick kiln near Moj village. They stay at the brick kiln in temporary shelters called Bhongas (भोंगा). This is a seasonal migration that takes place every year, between November and May. Once the children move to these locations with their parents, it becomes even more difficult to bring them to the school. As a result, these children are lagging behind in their studies compared to the rest of their classmates.

Kishor is a sensitive and mature teacher. He and his colleague Mr Wagh have enrolled their own children in their Zilla Parishad school. Other middle class parents from the neighbouring villages have started sending their children to the Moj school, because they have seen that the teachers are doing a good job. Given this background, Kishor was feeling bad that the Katkari children from his class were lagging behind. We spoke at length about this issue. During the discussion we realized that there was little or no connection between what was being taught in school and the lives of these children. This was probably a major reason why the children did not find school education interesting. If we could relate the content and teaching methodology to their lives, they may find it relevant, we felt. To achieve this, we would have to discover the reality of their lives.

Kishor and I decided to visit the brick kiln. We reached there one morning around 7 AM. Rahul, a student from Kishor’s school, recognized him and came running to our car. A few other children saw him and ran away to hide in their temporary shelters. It was quite cold that morning and we were wrapped in warm clothes. However, when we saw little Vrushali, we felt quite ashamed of our privileges – in that furious cold, Vrushali was not wearing even a frock. Sitting in her elder sister’s arms, she was simply staring at us with her curious eyes.

Rahul started showing us around the brick kiln.  “See, these are the pits to mix clay and water. Here is the machine that powders the unused bricks to make Raabit (राबिट).  Do you know how  many bricks are stacked in a Ghoda (घोडा)? See, this row of  brick stacks is called Haroli (हारोली)…” Rahul was explaining with great enthusiasm. 

With Rahul’s help, the doors of this almost unseen world have now opened to me and Kishor. We have decided to enter this world and observe it through the lens of pedagogy and explore ways to teach these children. We are not sure if our efforts will be successful. But the challenge is beckoning us, for sure!

Bhonga, the temporary shelters at the kiln

 To be continued…

14 thoughts on “From the Brick Kiln at Moj”

  1. Nileshada and Kishore really touching article. The learning process is connected with day to day life as Rahul happily presented his experience. It’s a great initiative by both of you.

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  2. छान सर !!

    सध्यातरी अनेक शिक्षक मुले कातकरी आहेत , स्थलांतरित आहेत म्हणून प्रगत नाहीत अशी कारणे देतात . मात्र आपण आता आपल्या अनुभवातून व आपण सांगितल्याप्रमाणे शिक्षणशास्त्रीय भिंगातून त्यांना पाहणार …..

    खूप छान सर !! आपले अभिनंदन व शुभेच्छा !!!

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  3. नक्कीच.अनवट वाट अशा अनेक वंचित मुलांना शिक्षण प्रवाहात आणण्यासाठी संसाधन ठरेल.
    मी देखील लिहायला सुरुवात करते.

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  4. Nilesh this is very interesting work that you have started in the feild of education. I alao started my career as a teacher since 1994. And have always been passionate about innivating and developing new ways to enrich children. Though never explored such area but am always drawn towards doing something different.If there is anything that I can help you with it would be great learning for me as well. Thanks for inspiring .

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  5. Though RTE is boon for unversalisation of primary education it will remain mirage till we understand daily chore of different categories of deprived children .I will further suggest to document ‘a typical day of ‘ children who are typically out of school . It can be a project by QUEST with team of volunteers .
    More we understand the reality nearer we reach to the roadmap of their education .

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  6. छान लिहिले आहे निलेश. मुलांची कौटुंबिक व सामाजिक पार्श्वभूमी व प्रचलित शिक्षण पद्धतींची सांगड घालणे हा शिक्षण प्रभावीपणे सर्वांपर्यंत पोहोचविसाठी आवश्यक आहे. पुढील प्रक्रीयांबद्द्ल समजून घ्यायला आवडेल.

    धन्यवाद!

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    1. प्रयत्न तोच आहे अशोक.ही प्रक्रिया नेमकी कशी असणार आहे हे आज फार स्पष्ट आहे असे नाही एक ढोबळ दिशा घेऊन चाललो आहोत. पाहू या काय घडते ते.

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  7. Way to start asking the right questions….
    This initiative surely tells us as to how right questions should be asked. Whereas most of us would have begun by asking ‘Why’ these people are subjected to living in such difficult conditions, it is likely it would have ended hitting the proverbial brick wall trying to find the answers. Your’s and Kishore Sir’s efforts tell us to instead ask ‘How’ one can alleviate the plight of these children.
    Truly, the way to find plausible answers starts with asking appropriate questions.

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  8. सर आपण आपलोड केलेला अनवट वाट हा लेख अतिशय छान आणि आम्हाला प्रेरणादायक असा वाटला वीटभट्टीवर काम करणाऱ्या मुलांच्या संदर्भामध्ये आपण जे काम हाती घेतले आहे ते काम खरोखरच खूप आव्हानात्मक आहे कारण वीटभट्टीवर काम करणारे तेवढीच मुले नसेल महाराष्ट्राच्या कानाकोपऱ्यामध्ये अशी अनेक प्रकारची कुटुंब आणि अनेक प्रकारची मुले आहेत ज्यांच्या सोबत काम करण्यासाठी आम्हाला सुद्धा या लेखातून प्रेरणा मिळेल. आणि आपण केलेल्या कामाच्या अनुभवातून आम्हाला काम करण्यासाठी तसेच महाराष्ट्रातील अनेक लोकांना काम करण्यासाठी या लेखातून निश्चितच प्रेरणा मिळेल.
    सर सोबतच एक प्रश्न आहे
    आपण काम करत असताना त्या मुलांच्या आई-वडिलांना शिक्षणापेक्षा आपल्या पोटापाण्याचा प्रश्न हा अत्यंत महत्त्वाचा असतो आणि अशातच आपण काम करत असताना आई-वडिलांचे नेमके काय अनुभव राहिले त्यांच्या प्रतिक्रिया काय होत्या ह्या सुद्धा ऐकून घ्यायला आम्हाला आवडेल.

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    1. देविदास आपले म्हणणे अगदी योग्य आहे.मुलांचे आई वडील सध्या तरी तटस्थ दिसत आहेत. काही वेळा भट्टीवरचा वर्ग चालू असताना एखाद्या मुलाचे आईवडील त्याला कामासाठी उठवून ही नेतात. मात्र त्यांची अडचण ओळखून सध्या तरी आम्ही काही बोलत नाही. तुम्ही सुचवल्याप्रमाणे मुलांचे पालक भट्टीवरील इतर मोठी माणसे या प्रयत्नाकडे कसे पाहत आहेत हे समजून घ्यायचा नक्की प्रयत्न करतो तसेच या बाबत पुरेशी समाज बनली की त्या बाबत ब्लॉग पोस्ट मध्ये लिहितो. तुमच्या मौलिक सूचनेसाठी मानापासून आभार.

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  9. This is cool! I am glad you started writing a blog! Gone are the days where people proudly created the islands of humanity..away from the society! With this initiative, now you can be ‘our window’ to the world of early child education at these remotest areas… this vouches for an interest and involvement of the readers! Great start!

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  10. ‘शिक्षण कधीच थांबत नसतं ‘ हेच खरं. वंचितांना शिकवताना आपलंच केवढं शिकणं होतं. आव्हानांना ध्येय बनवणाऱ्या तुम्हाला सलाम….!! पुढचा भाग वाचायची उत्सुकता वाढवलीत , सर.

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  11. कॅमेराची व काॅम्पुटरची आवड मुलांना अभिव्यक्ती च्या संधी उपलब्ध करून देण्यास उपयुक्त ठरतील असे कुणालाही वाटलं नसेल. भावविश्वातून अध्ययनाकडचा हा प्रवास वाचताना मुलांचे चेहरे डोळ्यासमोर तरळून गेले. मनापासून धन्यवाद सर.. मनाला उभारी येण्यासाठी एवढंही पुरेसे आहे.

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