We have noticed while working with these children that they face a problem with number-names. In Marathi and some North Indian languages, the number-names are a little peculiar. These children can say “80 and 4” quite easily. But they find ‘chauryanshi’ (चौंऱ्यांशी ) confusing.
There we go again. Start from scratch. Tarabai and Anutai had done this pioneering work decades ago. I feel amazed and saddened that their work is not outdated even today.
Suddenly, I felt quite depressed. Could Kishor or I really achieve anything in this highly unstable environment, by coming here to teach for a few days? Would these children – for whom we are taking all the efforts - really benefit at all? Is our work providing an answer to these children’s problems?
Another striking point was that the children were engrossed in decorating their writing using the sketch-pens. They spent almost equal time in writing and decorating. Looking at their enthusiasm of decoration I experienced absolutely mixed feeling . Should I feel happy because they sat diligently for so long which is very rare or should feel sorry for a thing as simple as using colourful pens was also a luxury for them. I was not able to decide.
Kishor wanted to add some print to this otherwise print deficit environment. He decided to write the names of all the family members and display the lists on the walls of their Bhongas. Kishor is a resourceful person. He had saved the transparent plastic covers of his students’ school uniforms. We had already made a list of the names of all family members during our initial survey. He printed out the lists, put them in plastic covers and stuck them on the walls to make each bhonga ‘literate’!!
Radhi is not only smart, she is also a born leader. She likes to assume responsibility. One day when Umesh and Devram were fighting, she intervened and made them stop. When she is in Kishor’s school, she is always doing advocacy on behalf of her classmates. Will the unstable life on the brick kiln nurture her inherent qualities?
Even after being in the school child like Mati may make less progress as compared to other children. But still it is important that she continues in the system as dropping out means getting married and pregnant at a very young age.
Kishor and I have decided to capture their life in photographs, prepare text based on the photos and ask them to read it. For those who are not showing an interest in reading, we are going to write their own stories. We believe that if such text is made available to them, they would definitely start taking an interest in learning to read.
This is the third consecutive day of our visit to the brick kiln. By now, we are quite familiar with the work that goes on here. It is back-breaking work! The workers get up around 2 AM and start molding the bricks. By the time we reach there around 7.30 AM, they are busy wrapping... Continue Reading →
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!