Issues

A pillar of support

“I like to come and study here much more than going to my own school as here we are allowed to use computers,” says Mamta, one out of the many children who are taught by an enthusiastic team of students from Delhi College of Arts & Commerce (DCAC) under Project TanZeal.

It all started when Sukriti Sethi, an English Honors student from DCAC started talking to these children who lived under a small shed near a five-star hotel, located just five minutes from DCAC. Their parents are engaged in construction work at the hotel.

“When I started talking to the children frequently in 2011, I realised that they had very little knowledge about their subjects; many of them were not even able to spell the words correctly though some of them were students of Class VI,” says Sukriti, adding, “I wanted to teach them but didn't know how to start.”

Last year in July, Project TanZeal was kicked off when one more DCAC student, Yash Vardhan Verma, decided to teach the children in their college once the classes got over. Both Sukriti and Yash started spending their pocket money to buy notebooks and other stationery for the 10 children. “The college administration helped us a lot by allowing us to use the college infrastructure for this purpose,” says Yash.

The classes start at 2.30 p.m. and ends at 4.30 p.m. Here, the students are divided according to their classes and one volunteer is assigned separately to provide individual attention to all the students. “We try to clear their basics about the subjects in the first place because the foundation of the concept must be strong to develop a command on the subjects,” explains Yash. Students from classes I to VIII are taught under this project.

Considering the efforts made by Team TanZeal, the DCAC authorities decided to support the cause by giving financial assistance of Rs. 5,000 a year. Also, the project has now become a part of the National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of DCAC. Over the past one year, the number of students has risen from 10 to 45. “This is because the children spread the word about our work, even their teachers in the school are impressed by our work so much that they sent five more children from their school to us to make their basics clear,” says Sukriti “The teacher have even promised to provide free notebooks and any assistance that we need in this project,” she adds.

Most of the children, who were initially unable to spell properly, can now write entire passages easily. Last year, they even inaugurated the first-ever NSS fest at DCAC which was a great moment for them.

Not only academics, children at TanZeal are also encouraged to play games and outdoor sports for their overall development. Team TanZeal is planning to arrange badminton and football facilities in near future. In total, 15 volunteers, all DCAC students, are associated with this project presently.

Even the DCAC professors are enthusiastic about the initiative and proud of their students’ efforts to teach the unprivileged children kids. “I feel proud of my students because of the commitment they have shown for this noble cause and I am there to support them whenever they require my guidance and any kind of assistance,” says Neeru Ailawadi, Professor, History Department.

Project TanZeal has now become a part of life for all those who are associated with it. “We are defined by our work towards TanZeal, it adds meaning to our identity and people in the college know us due to this project and not vice-versa,” says Team TanZeal. The volunteers also share an emotional attachment with this project as the name of the project is taken from the name of an English Honours student of DCAC, Tanzeal-ur-Rehman, who died in an accident last year.


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Printable version | Jan 21, 2022 9:44:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/issues/a-pillar-of-support/article5064990.ece

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