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Students-turn teachers to spread literacy in UP
Published on 17 Oct. 2009 11:18 PM IST
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Other children of their age play video games or surf the internet in their spare time, but a group of students in this Uttar Pradesh village prefer spreading literacy by teaching the poor and downtrodden. Students of Uttar Pradesh’s Ralpur village in Rae Bareli district, some 80 km from Lucknow, have initiated a literacy campaign in which “every evening we don the role of teachers and teach sons and daughters of labourers, servants and other persons engaged in menial jobs”, Roshni Yadav, 16, a Class 11 student of Shri Govind Singh Inter College, told IANS on phone. Nearly 30 students from different institutions are involved in the literacy campaign that started around six months ago. “We always wanted to bring about changes in our village, but were not sure how it could be done,” said Kumari Gudiya, a Class 12 student of the Ambar Singh Inter College. “I remember when we used to play in the fields along with our friends, children of labourers every day watched us from a distance. Gradually, when we recognised their faces, we asked them to play with us. Interacting with them, we came to know about their problems, their illiteracy, and decided to plan out such an exercise,” added Gudiya, one of the students who strategised the campaign. The students sought help from a few social activists for their campaign. At present, they run classes at five places in the village. The classes are conducted inside make-shift establishments. “The students need to be applauded for their efforts. They were not getting the desired results initially. Only a handful of illiterate children were willing to go for the classes as the parents had some inhibitions and did not want their children to attend the classes,” social activist Anil Mishra told IANS. “Then, with the help of the students, a group of social activists started motivating the parents so that they send their children to the classes. It was quite difficult,” he recalled. Now the students have 250 pupils. “Of them, a majority are poor children in the age group of 5-12 who help their parents in diversifying their income. We have kept the timing of the classes in the evening so that it does not affect their earnings as they work during the day,” said Mishra.

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