India --- "our new friends".

Saturday, September 12, 2009

To give you a background, this 'school' operates at 14000 feet....where there are no roads or telephones or any kind of connectivity.....Our shepherds make their makeshift camps for about 6 months...only hardcore trekkers like us can reach them - This is our very modest effort to rehabilitate these children who have no way of acquiring any form of formal education....Their teacher(for the time being) is a shepherd who has high school level education....

We are also supporting an initiative in Srinagar(Kashmir) catering to children below 5 years. Children are eligible to go to school at the age of 5. These children belong to small time artisans, masons and other workers. Ordinarily they would be found running around helter-skelter on the streets when their fathers are out working and the mothers are busy tending to the house. The women in Kashmir are mostly confined to the house. Here they are taught basic values, the concept of sharing, making friends and are introduced to their first English alphabets and numbers.
This is where the baby clothes library could be established... However, we will require only winter clothing, full sleeved uppers and full length lowers - going by the cultural and social requirement of the place.
There is a very interesting story about how and why I chose Kashmir as an area of work....perhaps I'll share it with you some day over a cup of coffee! But I'll leave you with an interesting thought....Kashmir is perhaps the only state in India where everyone has their own piece of land and they all have enough(spell non vegetarian food) to eat!!..Compared to our other states like Bihar, Andhra Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh where landless farmers are driven to commit siucides because they are unable to feed their families.....Have you ever wondered why then did the youth of this pampered state resort to militancy as an option?????