Nandyala Harindar and his wife Sulochana gave up the comforts of life in the US to return home and teach children at anganwadis

He was a senior systems analyst at IBM and held a US Green Card. And yet Nandyala Harindar gave up all what many would consider success and took the flight back to India in 2007.

Having made Muthyalammagudem village in Kattangur mandal his home ever since, Harindar worked with students of a local high school for a few years, teaching them computers, physics and mathematics with no remuneration. However, he found that many could not even understand the basics of English. When he enquired with the teachers, they told him that the students were not taught the language properly in Primary School. Harindar realised that he had to home in on even smaller children – in the anganwadis.

Along with his wife Sulochana, also a former IBM employee, Harindar went to Chennai a year ago and underwent a year-long Montessori Teacher Training programme. Meanwhile, the couple borrowed Rs.15 lakh-worth high-precision material from USA to teach children aged 3-6 the Montessori way.

As many as 11 students have enrolled at their home, for which they make use of the second floor of their house. The wife-husband duo teaches from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. During this period, they would not event come out to attend a phone call.

Explaining the difference in the method of teaching, Mr. Harindar said unlike the conventional method wherein children are taught by teachers, the Montessori method encourages children to teach themselves using materials specially prepared for the purpose.

Meanwhile, Harindar approached District Collector T. Chiranjeevulu urging him to send all students enrolled with anganwadi in the village to his home. While the anganwadi teachers were scared that their jobs would go if the requested was acceded to, Mr. Harindar asked them to work with him.

“The material and space available at my home would be sufficient for about 40 children,” he said. He further asked the Collector if he could club 2-3 anganwadi centres located nearby and send them to his institution. Though the Collector responded positively, he is yet to take a final call on the matter.

When asked why he did not want to start an institution on his own, Harindar responded that he wanted to improve the system to whatever extent it would permit, but did not want to create his own system out of it. “I had earned enough for a peaceful life. Now I want to give back to society with greater commitment,” he maintained.

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