“Be the change, you want to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
A small child with dreams much higher than his age, belonging to a Banjara community unaware of the importance of education, became the source of the change of beliefs. The families were deprived of very basic commodities and wanted their children to work. They had seen people studying for 10-12 years and ending up jobless and believed that studying was a time not worth spending.
Manthan approached the community to inspire them for education, for over a year. Night schools were started in 2007-2008 and after many efforts, 10-12 boys started coming to schools. They were inconsistent since they were discouraged by neighbors, which caused the school to shut down. Some children were taken to SWRC at another place. They ran away multiple times, but Girdhari stayed at last. He studied in that home-like environment for 1-2 years, with no discrimination, unlike in his community. Children were encouraged to engage in various activities like sports, driving, creative writing. He was inspired by Mr.Tejaram who mentored him like his child. On seeing other children studying and moving ahead in life, he thought to do that himself as well and had a dream to bring this change in his community. The boy who feared schools was now in love with the books. He joined a private school later on and to pay the fees at his young age, he worked in different ways he could and kept saving money for the future. To study for 11th & 12th, he took his savings to the principal and gave in the form of loose coins. The principal, amazed and impressed by his hard work and dedication, let him complete his studies for free.
After completing his studies in school, he went back to Mr.Tejaram and requested to re-open the night school in his village. He believed in the notion, Share what you learn. He has been teaching there for 5 years and has gained respect from people. Currently, there are 18 girls and 10 boys in his classes. He is not only teaching in Night school but also in a private school, along with studying Literature in his college. People of his community have accepted the importance of education. The change that Girdhari had desired to bring long ago has finally come into action. Manthan sculpted his mind to see bigger dreams and his efforts paid off well.