What does it take to implement a humble idea? Struggle? Money? Probably not! More than anything, it perhaps takes a strong belief – a belief that there is something more meaningful I can do to address a significant problem and the solution is very simple. That solution is ‘to take the first step’.
Roshan, the founder of Free Pathshala, is a double post graduate and has years of experience in Human Resources. While working as a HR expert, he sought to utilize his life in much deeper sense than his daily routine of work. Residing in Sector 51 of Gurgaon, one fine morning during his health conscious walks, he looked at a nearby construction site and decided to teach the children of construction workers.
“I knew I wanted to do this but I was seeking support from people to help me implement it,” said Roshan. “My first student was Bharti, a five year old girl. I still remember my first day of teaching her. With that one success, 3 more children joined and I started teaching regularly in my parking space from 6-9am. All it took at that time was to spread a mat and sit with these children for whom holding a book was a first time experience.”
Soon enough these children started drifting away because their parents changed their work site! It was heart breaking. Most ordinary thought at this point would have been to quit. But he continued. With dedication and commitment, by now 15 children started learning from him. And that meant that the parking space was not big enough. As it’s said that if you take one step, Divine will take two steps towards you. The society priest offered him space in the temple for educating these children during the early morning hours.
With 28 children onboard, people approached to volunteer as teachers. Roshan then decided to teach at another location so that kids who can’t walk so far can also study. The next destination was sadbhavna park in Sector 46, Gurgaon. The journey, as it unfolded, led to the unexpected circumstance of all volunteer teachers vanishing one by one due to unavoidable reasons. Wondering how to solve the problem, with a little maths of cutting down on his leisure dinner with friends, he set aside that budget for hiring a teacher on a paid basis to teach for five hours instead of the usual two hours.
“As we moved along, every step brought a beautiful learning for us. At this point I realized that I should get these kids admitted in a government school. And so we did. Three kids from our first year batch got admission. We were very happy.”
People around them saw their work and came forward to help in their own ways. “Initially I was hesitant to take help from others. Then I tried to change myself and asked for help. Sometimes help came, sometimes people ignored us. But it changed me for good. I felt more confident.”
Roshan runs his own business of hiring professionals for analytical startups. He continues to commit his morning hours from 6:30am to 9:00am to teach the workers’ children, sitting humbly in a park with his board and markers. “I started this initiative with just one child in 2015 and today we teach about 270 kids in four different locations at sector 51,46 & 52. I work with a team of 8 paid teachers and many volunteers teaching under the open sky with a simple intention to educate these children and settle them for further studies in government schools.”
They all seem very excited about their work. Part of their education involves periodic health and hygiene camps which includes free eye, dental, and oral health check-up. In today’s time it’s pertinent to conduct talks on good touch bad touch and make our children sensitively aware about it.
Like any other school, Free Pathshala also holds Parent Teacher Meetings. “It’s an opportunity for us to convey to the parents to let the ladies of the house take-up household duties at people’s home to stabilize their income. Generally while the father is on a look-out for another work site, if the mother is employed with household work, it atleast ensures the child’s stability of place and attendance.” This prompted Roshan’s team to extend their helping hands to search and recommend maid jobs for the mothers so that these families could augment their monthly earnings.
We share this story with you as an example of triumph and fulfillment. “I say to everyone that if you have an earnest desire in you for a good cause, that unseen power above us also takes part in it to play its sweet role.” sighted Roshan. Isn’t that magical ?!
Thank you for reading. If you are someone who has a dream to work on ‘your’ idea of good cause, visit us on www.freepathshala.org and share your thoughts.
Story written by Pooja Bagaria