DSS conducts surveys in temporary locations including construction sites to enroll out of school children between 6-8 years of age to schools. In 2016-17, in one such survey at a construction site in Baner, we found Rahul, a 7-year old child who was not enrolled to school.
We spoke to Rahul’s father, Mr. Garibdas Shrivas multiple times to enroll him to school, however the father would say that they were from Bihar and since they were new to this place, he would not send the child to school. After some more meetings, he agreed to enroll the Rahul to Baburao Katke PMC School in Baner. DSS also provided him school transport facility. But the pick-up point of the bus was about 8 minutes away from their home and Mr. Shrivas could not drop the child till the bus due to his Security Guard duty. He would say that his boss would get upset if he took a break to drop Rahul to the bus. Our staff thus spoke to his employer to request him to give Mr. Shrivas a 15 minutes break so that the child could continue going to school and the society chairman agreed to it. Still the father often insisted that the bus pick the child up from their door step, which was not a possibility, given the logistics. However, later he ensured that the child was regular to school.
The next year, Mr. Shrivas bought his son a bicycle to go to school. However, the distance to the school was close to 2.5 km and the road was a busy one which worried the parent a little. Thus, he researched a little and found that a school transport vehicle was available for the Sant Tukaram School in Pashan. He went by himself to the Rahul’s school to get the child’s school leaving certificate and enrolled Rahul and his younger daughter Alka (who by now was also of the school going age) to the Pashan School. He now pays for the private school transport for both his children and they are both regular to school.
Not only has he been so diligent to send his children regularly to school, he has also been speaking to other parents to convince them to send their kids to school. We have been in constant touch with him and since we saw such a positive shift in his attitude towards Education, we made him the ‘Shikshan Mitra’ in this area. Since then he always attended all the Shikshan Mitra meetings conducted by us and he has also helped enroll children of other watchmen around him. He also regularly follows up with the 5 children we assigned to him and sends us updates and photographs via WhatsApp.
Mr. Garibdas Shrivas, who was initially so reluctant to send his child to school has now become so aware about the importance of education that he himself took an informed decision of changing his child’s school, arranged private transport for his children after enrolling his daughter on his own! Not only that, he is also a responsible Shikshan Mitra who is helping us with enrollment of other children and helping us ensure that they are regular to school! Who says change is not possible!