By Renuka Sharma
Charity is one of the most noble virtues a person can possess, as it reflects kindness and generosity to think beyond the self. Charity goes a long way in making this world a better place to live in. People with the spirit of fellow felling and empathy come forward to bring opportunities, smiles and ease into the lives of the less privileged. Charity, in fact, is a total win-win exercise as it results in societal growth and improvement in standards of living. In the bargain, it brings happiness and to the individual who is contributing.
Contrary to popular perception, charity can be in any form, not necessarily just cash. Ideally, charity should start from our own homes as our personal spaces are really, the easiest places for us to reach out to others. If possible, we should try and sponsor the education of the girl child of our domestic help. This will not only improve her quality of life but will also improve the social fabric of our country. Educated girls are definitely better equipped to combat the challenges of child marriage ,over population, superstition, and poor health and hygiene.
Education will play a very vital role in increasing the self esteem and confidence of girls. Consequently, this will empower them to communicate and get their opinions heard in a more effective way- both at the domestic as well as the professional level. Girls will play a pivotal role in changing the traditional mind set of society with their progressive approach.
My heart saddens when I see mostly uneducated mothers and sometimes, even the educated ones, giving preferential treatment to their sons. This usually happens in the areas of access to resources such as food and education. The burden of domestic chores is borne by girls, in the majority of cases. There is one more intangible and poignant area in which they suffer a lack, and that is affection. I once saw an uneducated woman asking her daughter, who was a student of class III to carry the heavy bag of her son, who was much older. I still remember the words. ‘Bag tum uthao ,Bhai thak Jayega.’
Therefore, due to the many realities of society mentioned above, I firmly believe that education is one of the most important areas in which one can do charity. It is the catalyst that starts chain reaction of knowledge and growth. Therefore, we should really endeavour to spread education everywhere and using all possible methods.
If we are not in a position to give financial help , we can volunteer with an educational organisation and devote our time to teaching underprivileged children. A good education will ensure that children stay in school, and off the streets. It will channel their brain and energies towards a purposeful and enriched life.
Related to this discussion, I would like to share with you all some pertinent statistics on education in India. The Legatum Prosperity Index ( 2015 ) ranks India 92 in education among 145 countries. This dismal state of affairs can only be improved through the prioritizing education and working towards 100 percent literacy. For this purpose, it is imperative to increase the country’s expenditure on education by a large amount. It is the best investment for the growth of any nation and no expense or effort should be spared to achieve this goal. Part of this investment also involves recruiting highly qualified teachers. The teaching profession should be made lucrative so that talented individuals are attracted towards this field.
While analyzing the state of affairs on education in the country, one must look at both the pros and cons in a balanced way. On the positive side, many educated ,enthusiastic and driven people have already started taking positive initiatives. They have become the change makers of the country. One such initiative, which I personally admire is Teach For India (TFI). Through the TFI Fellowship programme, experienced professionals, college students and even entrepreneurs, work for education equity with vision, drive and commitment. Their areas of focus are government schools, and private schools in low income areas. The initiative has grown exponentially over the last eight years, with currently 1200 TFI fellows teaching 42,000 children across seven cities.
Even if a person is at a later stage in life and joining a full time initiative like the TFI fellowship isn’t an option, they can definitely learn from the wonderful spirit of the initiative. This is where the combination of innovation and experience can help unlock the secrets of India’s transformation. A pragmatic and tech-savvy approach of the youth, combined with the vast experience of the elders can transform our country into a nation where each and every citizen is educated.
About the Author
Renuka Sharma is an Educator with 30 years of experience. An Avantika International Prize awardee, she is currently working as a Headmistress with a school in Faridabad, Haryana. She is passionate about the cause of charity and girls’ education with the purpose of bringing a transformation in the mindset of Indian society. In her spare time, Renuka likes to read and write about issues of social interest.