At an age when most of his classmates spend their time watching cartoons, playing video games, and preparing for exams, 11-year-old Anand Krishna Mishra is busy teaching underprivileged kids. Despite being a school student himself, this ‘chota masterji’ has reached out to children from slums and villages around the city, and organised his Bal Choupals.
These meetings started in 2012, when Anand had the opportunity to spend time with a few children living in a slum, and shared with them all that he had learnt at school.
Soon this initiative took the shape of a gathering, where he actually started educating these children. He takes an hour out of his daily schedule and teaches mathematics, computer science and English, and has inspired over 700 children to get enrolled in schools.
While teaching the children, Anand gets the opportunity to dig deeper into their lives, and, with the help of his parents, he makes their families aware of the need to educate their children.
Anand’s parents, Anoop and Rina Mishra, are both employed in the UP police and are supportive of Anand’s mission. Their popularity has also helped them organise sessions on environmental awareness such as afforestation drives.
Anand studies in City Montessori School in Lucknow. Every day, after coming back from school, he takes some time to rest in the afternoon. At five in the evening, he goes to his Bal Choupal. Here he teaches about a hundred children.
When asked about his teaching methods, Anand says, “I try to teach them in a friendly manner. I share interesting stories and organise games to keep them interested. I try to make sure that they don’t get bored and that they always learn something.”
The learning imparted by Anand in his Bal Choupal is not just restricted to books. He gives them lessons on social and national responsibilities too. Anand says, “The sessions at Bal Choupal begin with the singing of ‘Hum Honge Kaamyaab’ (We Shall Overcome) and end with the singing of the National Anthem.
“I believe that this helps my friends grow up to become responsible citizensof our country, at the same time it gives them faith in their abilities to deal with any obstacles they may find.’’
Plans to start a library
Anand has received many awards for the work he has been doing, including the Satyapath Bal Ratan Award and the Seva Ratna Award. With the help of local people, he has been successful in starting a few libraries in nearby villages.
Meanwhile, he is also trying to get help from other privileged and educated children to join the cause and help the students of Bal Choupal.
Anand and his parents had also started a ‘Chalo Padho Abhiyan’ where they invited educated members of society to support the education of at least one child.
Along similar lines, they have also started a programme called ‘Chalo Bahan, School Chalo’ (Come sister, let’s go to school) which specifically targets girls from poor families.
Anand smiles confidently when he says that, with small steps like these, India will soon become an educated and prosperous country.
Sourav Roy, October 16, 2015
A) Discussion Points:
- What are most 11 year-old children busy with?
- Describe Anand’s daily schedule.
- Talk about Anand’s teaching methods.
- How would you describe Anand?
- What does Anand hope to achieve through his Bal Choupals?
- What is your favourite subject? Do you think you could help teach another person this subject?
- Have you heard the song, ‘Hum Honge Kamyab’? Why does Anand make his students sing this and the National Anthem everyday?
- Write a few lines on an ideal teacher.
- Write a few lines on an ideal student.
- What does Anand’s project inspire you to do?