Kare-ing for slum dwellers

Kare-ing for slum dwellers

More often than not, children who come from underprivileged background find it difficult to achieve basic primary education, let alone appear for...

More often than not, children who come from underprivileged background find it difficult to achieve basic primary education, let alone appear for competitive exams. In this regard, Kurmaguda Academy for Relief and Education (KARE) has proved itself to be a boon for children of auto drivers, painters, mechanics and domestic maids living in slums.

Unable to even chant alphabets when they were enrolled, the children from KARE are now able to converse in English. Located in a lane in Kurmaguda, opposite the Chanchalguda prison, KARE was started in 2000 by Mohd Wahid Ansari, after undertaking a tour of a slum.

In the first year, Ansari admitted kids only in nursery. As they progressed to higher classes he expanded the institution, adding a floor every year. Now, it has become an academy with upto 580 students.

Speaking to The Hans India Ansari says, “My aim is to bring light into the lives of slum-dwellers. I use education as a tool to rid people of poverty. That is why I am giving free education for the last 16 years. We have digital classrooms as well.”

Its students receive free education up to SSC in English medium. When they finish with their tenth standard, most of them are being admitted free of cost by corporate institution for pursuing Intermediate. Another remarkable achievement of KARE is that one of their students secured 9,000th rank in Medicine Entrance Test.

The school is offering training facilities to enable its students stand on their own legs; as a result many are being employed by IT companies and business schools. Frequently the academy students get the benefit of motivational lectures by professionals, too.

Six former students are teaching in the instruction now. These teachers told THI that their aim is to turn the young kids into useful citizens and change their fate once and for all. Seeing the meritorious students of KCRE, ‘Teacher for India’ has deployed six teachers in the institution two years ago.

One of the teachers, Firdose Begum, the daughter of a street lamination maker, said she had studied in KARE. With pride she says, “I am happy to become a teacher. Had the school not been started I would have remained an illiterate.”

Another teacher, Harsha, who was previously working with a multinational corporation, was a pioneer in bringing digital classrooms to KARE. Students are being exposed to technologies like Google Earth and 3D.

“This school benefits such children whose parents can't provide education to their wards. Now they are able to compete with anyone with confidence,” says Anita, who completed Intermediate and Degree courses with the help of donors and is now preparing for Civils. She is also discharging the onerous task of being the school’s in-charge.

A quick chat with the bright young students reveals their ambitions that are not akin to anyone of their age. While fifth standard’s Hajera wants a good job to support her family; Sapura, daughter of an electrician, wants to become an IPS officer and Rashida Begum, daughter of a rickshaw-puller is determined to become a teacher.

The institution also runs a nutrition centre, a clinic and a KARE bank for the benefit of slum-dwellers. The bank extends loans of a minimum of Rs 300, which can be returned when the students have savings.

Organisers of KARE don't accept money from donors. They persuade them to sponsor the needs of the institution and students, as also teachers and their salaries, besides the pay of the volunteers.

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