Teaching the wealthy may fill your pockets but taking the deprived to the classrooms and introduce them to the new world of knowledge and possibilities makes the job God's. Iffat Faridi, a Bangalore resident who is not only a teacher but also a caretaker for many children in the streets of Kalyan Nagar in Bangalore.
Iffat Faridi who has a PhD in Special Education from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi after resigning from some prestigious institutions, found her destiny with transforming the lives of the children of construction labourers near her residence in Kalyan Nagar. Everything started with a fine observation of her on the lives of children roaming through the streets, uncared by their parents who will be in their working places most of the time.
Time didn't play too much in bringing them closer, even though she and the children were part of two different cultures. She asked them in sign language if they wanted to study and the children whose young minds craved for learning after seeing children from well-do families going school every day nodded with so much excitement. "Initially, I started teaching the basic three R's (Reading Writing Arithmetic) and later appointed a tuition teacher for Kannada to help them with language skills. After developing the basic competencies, based on modules developed by Azim Premji Foundation, all the 15 children were sent to nearby Kannada medium school and admitted to class 1 as it was their first chance to go to a formal school" says Faridi. She herself takes care of the expenses of the children at first, but later she found many sponsors came her way up in helping those children in academics.
For the children, she is not only a loving companion but also a strict teacher who ensures they're going to the school on an everyday basis. She also kindled hopes for the children who were drop-outs from conventional schools that require compulsory attendance a long back ago. She admitted them in NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) which allows for students to have access to education, with many conveniences, the distance being one of them.
Strong figures in history never surrendered themselves without seeing a sunrise after a long rain of struggle and misery. Iffat Faridi is one among them who has been struggling to alter the unjust policies of NIOS towards poor and Kannada medium school students who cannot go beyond Class 9 -the last class where they are given questions in Kannada. While Faridi continues her struggle with NIOS, she's preparing her students to welcome all the challenges life brings to them and hopefully move ahead to become the champions of life. She has already brought Hindi books from Delhi to prepare her students to learn from study materials in Hindi and English at the Std 10 level.
When online classes became more in practice due to the ongoing pandemic the adaption to the new change may not have an expected fast pace especially for the children from poor families. " I could sponsor for 27 students and sent them to schools. Also, Three among them is in PUC second year now. But due to this ongoing pandemic, regular education comes to halt. Schools they are enrolled in do not provide online classes as like Public schools. They can't even rely on YouTube Videos for learning due to non-availability of gadgets" says Iffat Faridi. "Children's education also suffers when their parents relocate to other places in search of labour" adds Faridi.