This wonderful and inspiring story comes to us from Lucknow, India.
A lot of people have established the fact that age has nothing to do with either passion or talent. A person who epitomizes this fact of life is a schoolboy from Lucknow, Anand Krishna Mishra. This young boy has been successful in starting his own school for underprivileged children called Bal Choupal at a time when he himself was just 11 yr old.
Anand, often called “Chotta Masterji” had a defining experience when he was on holiday in Maharashtra with his parents. He came across a small kid of his age who was studying by the dim and capricious streetlight. Anand could tell that the boy was underprivileged by the condition of his clothes and books. What was amazing was the grit and determination of the boy, who would rush inside a nearby temple at the time of prayers, reciting the shlokas perfectly. When the prayers were over, the boy would return to his seat beneath the streetlight.
Anand was extremely moved by the stoicism of the boy and offered the boy new clothes as a mark of solidarity. The boy refused, saying that if Anand really wanted to help, he should give him books to study. Anand and his parents bought the books from a shop close by and gave them to the boy. This was the first time that Anand felt that there were people of his age who were eager to learn but did not have access to education.
Anand was visibly moved by this experience and when he returned to his hometown, he along with his parents visited the nearby villages where they saw the acute lack of educational opportunities. The children would mostly be engaged in menial labor and household chores. Anand was incensed by this glaring anomaly and decided to do something about this unfair situation.
In 2012, Anand started Bal Choupal with the support of his parents, who were both in the police force. In the beginning, during the classes, Anand would share whatever he learned in school with the village kids. The numbers were few in the beginning but soon, with his good work, the class strength started increasing.
Today, Bal Choupal has spread to over 125 villages and Anand, fondly called “Chotte Masterji”, now devotes one hour daily for educating round 100 children who come from the slums and the villages. Anand imparts lessons in English, Mathematics as well as computers and has been instrumental in inspiring over 700 kids to get enrolled in formal school. Anand has a personal style of teaching, utilizing stories and games to impart the lessons to the kids.
Bal Choupal’s teachings are not limited to bookish knowledge. Anand strives to make the students better citizens and there are lessons in civics, social and moral responsibilities. Sessions start with singing “Hum Honge Kaamyab” and at the end they also sing the national anthem.
To further his aim, Anand and his parents have installed local libraries at different places in Lucknow. He has the lofty aim of getting across to every person who has been unfortunate enough to miss out on education. He has reached out to over 50 villages and touched around 50,000 children which is an enormous achievement for a boy of his age. For his incredible efforts in imparting education, Anand has received the Satyapath Bal Ratan award as well as the Seva Ratna award. He currently studies in Class IX in City Montessori School and dreams of going to the prestigious IIT and later starting his own company.
Image Source: Drilers