A spark of hope amidst hardships
Innocence plays a major role in helping children cope with challenges. Not only does it strengthen children, but also teaches the tender minds how to stay happy in spite of hardships. Such is the story of Pooja R, a student of The Government High School, Jalahalli, Bangalore.
Otherwise described as 'talkative and intelligent' by her teachers, Pooja comes across as being a rather shy kid at the first encounter. A couple of hours later, you find yourself talking to this little treasure chest of mischief, joy, creativity and intellect. Pooja is very fond of dance and music. She tops all the cultural competitions at her school as well as during inter-school cultural meets. She also scores well in her academics. Her favourite subjects are Mathematics and English. She aspires to take up Teaching as a profession.
"Pooja is actually a spark of hope for her parents. She has a brother who is in the X standard and a sister who is in the II year, PUC. Her mother is mute and partially deaf. Her father works a small job at the local Water Supply and Sewerage Board. His salary is just enough for them to survive," explains Raffath, Pooja's teacher.
Pooja communicates with her mother through a slate. Her mother writes whatever she wants to say on the slate and sometimes uses the sign language. "My mother always carries the slate with her. But this impairment of hers is hardly an obstacle to me. In fact, it has made me stronger and continues to do so," says a brave Pooja.
Pooja is a beneficiary of the Mid-day Meal Scheme implemented by The Akshaya Patra Foundation in over 10,631 schools across India. Students like Pooja don't have to sit through classroom hunger anymore because of the ardent support of the Government and all the stakeholders of the organisation. It will be only through such continued support that Akshaya Patra can reach out to more children who are in need.
(In the picture: Pooja (Left) with her best friend, Ambika)