"Following the dearth of government schools, the students after class 5 had to abandon their studies, thus giving up their dreams. Through Prayas, we envisaged to connect these children with the mainstream education," says Shalini, who not only manages the functioning of Prayas but also takes the computer classes.
The students are selected depending on their interests in studies and their economical background. "We know it will take long to bring the desired change, but we have made a beginning,” says Poonam, who is glad to have given a direction to her life by becoming a part of Prayas. The programme is well on its way towards realising the big dreams of these young children, with support from individuals and associations.
What started off as a campaign in 2010 with merely 13 students to make a difference to the lives of young students from economically challenged backgrounds, Prayas has become a mission for Siddharth Memorial trust with more and more volunteers joining the noble cause. Two years down the line, there are as many as 40 students enrolled and Prayas takes care of their all round development other than their academics - from stationery to uniform to their school fees.
What makes Prayas stand out are the self-less efforts of the volunteers and sponsors who look after the overall development of students and help them grow as independent and responsible individuals. It is the generous contribution of the volunteers that has helped Prayas to fulfill the hopes of hundreds of other underprivileged children. Besides their academics, Prayas also provides training to the students in dancing, music, computers, conversational skills and drawing and painting.
A day spent with these students is a unique experience. What is really a treat to the eyes is the view of these children, who would have otherwise abandoned their studies after class 5, punching at the keyboards of computers and holding paint brushes like artists. Bhupinder, son of a driver, who studies in class VIII, aspires to be a software engineer and is well on his way to realise his dreams. Bhupinder and many others like him would have ended up doing petty jobs had it not been the 'Prayas' of Poonam and Praveen Nayyar to connect these underprivileged students with mainstream education.
A beginning to a promising future has been made and it is reflected in the glowing face of all the 40 students who are part of the Prayas. While Deepak and Sunil Arya aspire to become artists, Kiran wants to become actress. Dreaming big now is Pradeep, class VIII student who wants to become a cricketer. So are the other children – Vibhita wants to become a doctor and Sunil wants to be a rapper. Talk to these students and one would know how they are being helped in fulfilling their dreams. It's not just mere academics that is taught to them, but these children have been encouraged to imbibe positive qualities of kindness, compassion and a sense of responsibility. What is more remarkable about this change is that the enthusiasm of these individuals has been attracting others in the community as well.
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