Some people are truly blessed with high standards of thinking and wisdom, these people not only believe in improving their own lives but they have this zeal to bring improvement in other’s lives too. These people have a strong faith in the power of knowledge and education and very well understand the usefulness of both in life. One such person who has been blessed with knowledge, enthusiasm and faith in the utility of education is; Beena Rao who has brought remarkable changes and improvement in the lives of over 5,000 deprived and unprivileged slum children.
Beena Rao is a Lecturer at Sardar Vallabha National Institute of Technology, Surat, she has been immensely inspired by her father who is a violinist and teaches the blind students for free. Rao felt motivated by her father’s kind act and she also decided to give free education to the deprived children belonging to the slums. She initially began to teach the slum children with the help of her husband in the year 2006 and later on in 2009 she introduced the idea of ‘Prayas Free Coaching Classes’. Today her initiatives have grown up to cover more than 5000 slum children at 8 different locations of Surat.
She has made a team of young college students who volunteer to give free tuition classes in the evening sessions to the slum children whose educational life seems to be much in dark, the status of education among the slum children is very disappointing they lack in good language, mannerism, values and good habits and in learning standards and their parents also do not seem to be much interested in sending them to schools. Rao works as a team with her young volunteers they teach the students from 3rd grade to 8thgrade and the funds for the salaries (about Rs. 1500 INR) of the volunteers are managed partially from the donations or sometimes from Rao’s own pockets.
Beena Rao feels that the introduction of not-to-fail Right to Education Act, 2009 (RTE) has led to the lowering of learning standards in the educational institutions as well as among the children. Particularly the parents and the children who belong to the deprived sections lack in ambitions and enthusiasm they believe that no matter what, the children would be promoted to the next level despite of having low learning skills and good performance. A great lapse is to be found in the government schools where the children coming from the deprived slum families lack in academic standards and regular attendance. Sometimes those children would attend the school only to have the free meals provided there. These children are rather more encouraged to get involved in works like labouring, working at tea stalls, textile factories and etc. at a very young age because of their low-income household profile, the parents also do not put any pressure on the children because if they would go to school then who else would help the parents in raising the income of the house.
The emphasis of the free tuition classes under the Prayas is basically upon bringing a holistic/overall development for the children while inculcating good moral and virtuous values in them. The motive is not only to impart education to the children but working upon enhancing their basic lifestyles, aspirations, mannerism, etiquettes, self-esteem and confidence. That is why Rao manages to organize different workshops for the children in vivid areas like science, yoga, sports, art & craft, physical science, and to impart better understanding and knowledge to the children and motivation in the parents, she also invites Police officials and Doctors as the guest lecturers.
The improvements in her students are just so incredible; the children who used to speak slang and abusive language have now learnt good manners and refrain from any vulgar lingo. The children witness an elevation in their self-esteem and confidence, after they have started taking the Prayas free coaching classes their attendance in the school have been increased, now they take keen interests in their studies at school, their academic performances as well as reading and studying habits have also been improved.
Beena Rao now wants to enhance her initiatives more and more and wants to expand the horizon and for this she also needs to raise the number of the volunteers, she wants that a huge number of young volunteers get involved with her mission. She has now registered the Sadamani Charitable Trust where the kind-hearted people can donate their money willingly if they wish to help and support the endeavours made by ‘Prayas coaching classes’. Rao understands that the present amount of money that the volunteers receives for their efforts is; insufficient, in fact she wants to pay them more money as a means of motivation.
Imparting knowledge and education to someone is one of the greatest duty and services and Beena Rao has been doing this work so efficiently. Her intentions to make the deprived children aim for success and progress and also the way she has combined the young generation with her mission are worthy of appreciation. Impressive is; Rao and her young volunteers who are making sincere efforts to change the lives of the slum children and also in a way, helping the country to get rid of illiteracy and lower educational standards. Kudos!
India needs such wise and humble people like Rao, who ignites the spark of enlightenment in the hearts of others and so easily pave a way for progress and growth. I think every young individual should take an inspiration from this woman and should do something good that can bring transformation in someone’s life. I don’t think Beena Rao had ever thought that her small efforts would turn out to be so well and huge but when the intentions are pure and there is zeal to do something for the society and the country then even the God helps the person and the way automatically becomes clear.