“If a child doesn’t understand the way we teach, perhaps we should teach them the way they learn.”

This clearly emphasises on our need to focus on child education through which every student is nurtured. Hence, we need to pull our attention to the need of the hour which is concentrating on educating the children who aren’t economically and socially in an advantageous situation.

It is from this notion that the concept of Chehel, an NGO which was started with an initiative of providing quality education to the children who cannot access such resources, germinated. Along with quality education, Chehel aims to provide overall development to the students through teaching. Since its inception in 2010 to the present, Chehel has seen many upheavals which have only strengthened its roots in providing the best to children and working more passionately towards the society.

Chehel is proudly imparting education to over sixty students presently and with the amount of hardwork and passion shown by both volunteers and the students, they aim to touch greater heights in coming days. Chehel believes, “If you don’t stand for child education, you don’t stand for much.” Enriching children with constructive knowledge, artistic skills and morals lays the first stone towards breaking the cycle of poverty and helping the children from the less-privileged section to lead empowered lives.

The initiative to bring the change was taken by Vrinda Loiwal, an LSR graduate, in 2010. Seeing children begging on streets left her feeling helpless and agitated.

She started teaching with 3 kids which gradually increased to 60 by May 2015. She was assisted by her juniors and friends, and after she graduated and moved out of Delhi, Chehel was sustained by her juniors. Year after year, senior Chehel volunteers graduate and their vacancies are filled by new faces.

Just like the word suggests, Chehel stands for movement, change and vibrancy. With such a noble endeavour, we wish Chehel all the very best!

Ishita Sharma

[email protected]

Social work is an activity most of us believe in, are vocal about, but find difficult to engage in. A step to create a change was taken by Vrinda Dalmia of LSR (then a second year psychology student), in 2010, who started Chehel, a community project, which aims at empowering underprivileged students through education. Chehel is a voluntary organization, open to every person interested in making a difference to the lives of underprivileged children, from students to housewives. Students from nursery to class 9 are taught by the volunteers, and children have already made immense progress in maths, for which they have very strong aptitude. The students are mostly from the slum area of Zamrudpur. Subjects ranging from English, Maths and Hindi are taught to the children, and Fridays are an ‘extra- curricular activity day’ for them. The children are currently preparing a play which the Chehel volunteers plan to showcase in February. “One of the main objectives of Chehel is to give quality education to children for free which is not received by them in government schools. We are an alternative for parents, who have to send their children to tuitions costing 600 Rs a month, as they don’t find good teachers for their children. The parents of the children are extremely eager to empower their children with education, and we are helping them realize their dream. Anybody with a passion to teach can be a part of Chehel, we have volunteers who are professionals, as well as college students. We teach the children in a park and are really approachable,” says Deepika, one of current co-ordinators of Chehel. Chehel’s founder, Vrinda is currently a Gandhi fellow working in Rajasthan and her initiative is being taken forward by Deepika, Mohika and Pooja, the current co-ordinators of Chehel. In a field like rural development, ground level work is extremely important, and Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) is quite unique in having a society specifically dedicated to engage students in social, economic and political issues. The Voluntary Agency Placement Program (VAPP) was begun in 1995 with a vision to provide students a grass root level forum. The society acts like a bridge between NGO’s like Students for Free Tibet (SFI), Satark Nagrik Sangathan (SNS), Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan (MKSS), etc. With the help of VAPP, LSR students have worked with these various organizations, working in rural areas of Jharkhand, Bihar, Chattisgarh, etc and engaging in activities like social auditing and legal documentation. Recently, VAPP also had an informal trip to the site of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, where students engaged with legal documentation with the locals. Students who have been an active part of VAPP have gone on to work with organizations like the National Council for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI). In fact, one of the very active members of NCPRI, Anjali Bharadwaj is an LSR alumnae! However, it’s sad to see that LSR does not encourage any collaboration between an organization like Chehel and VAPP, nor is Chehel allowed to carve a niche for itself in college due to stringent rules. A career in the field of social work and rural development is not only socially rewarding, but it also gives one an opportunity to innovate and become a better person!]]>