Saturday, March 26, 2016

Nidhi Singh visits Gurukulam!

10 March 2016

Nidhi Singh, along with Dr Anand Palanisami visited our school and spent a morning with our children.

Here is an account of Nidhi's experience of our school: 

Rendezvous with Gurukulam

Imagine a school with beautiful buildings, clean and safe toilets, healthy meals, students dressed in spotless uniforms, young and enthusiastic teachers, yoga, basketball and karate classes. This sounds like a private school in a metro city? No. I’m talking about a school for children from deprived and poor families located on the outskirts of Chennai city. A school called Gurukulam.

Basics first - Gurukulam is managed by Trust Children, an initiative of Capt. Nand Kumar, lovingly called ‘Captain’ by people around him. His firm belief that every child irrespective of his/her financial status has the right and need to be educated, has led to the formation of Gurukulam. He also believes that education has the potential to pull families out of poverty. In this light, Gurukulam was set up in 2004 as a school which provides free education to economically underprivileged children. Based in Kovalam, Chennai, the school is located adjacent to a stream where you can view beautiful migratory birds in the morning. Admission in Gurukulam is strict and only children from families earning less than Rs.8000 per month are given admission. Captain makes it a point to make personal visits to households for careful selection of only the deserving candidates. All activities, uniforms, food and education are provided free of cost to the children. Gurukulam started its operations with only 34 students and 2 teachers, but now it is a bustling campus with 205 happy and ambitious children and 20 hard-working teachers and staff members.

Equipped with a newly installed computer class (funded by KPMG), a basketball court, karate classroom the school offers more than just education. It focuses on overall development of the child and one of such initiatives that does this, a Captain’s favorite, is ‘How to Live’ classes.
How to Live classes, are mandatory and provide children with a platform to discuss not only their problems, issues, challenges and but also their perspective on life in general, talk about success, share personal stories etc. Personally, I found these classes the most powerful, for these provide the children with a platform to share discuss and listen. Success stories of students from Gurukulam are also shared during these classes, which provides the younger lot with role models to look up to. One can feel, experience and see the immense benefits of having such a course in the curriculum. The children are confident, happy and are also performing well in their studies.

During a walk in the school, I also observed the children to be absolutely courteous with me and their fellow classmates as well. I then noticed a group of girls and boys happily washing dishes after the school’s meals. After enquiring, I got to know that girls and boys are given responsibilities to wash dishes post lunch. I have never seen this in Indian schools – private or government. I’m sure schools will also face difficulties in implementing such a programme. But, this small activity makes children learn so many good values. Firstly, it brings a sense of equality in their minds. Cleaning dishes together with other students puts everyone in one basket irrespective of their gender and economic status. Secondly, a sense of responsibility and collaboration is also inculcated in young minds. Cleanliness is a collaborative effort which is taught to all children from the very beginning at Gurukulam. Performing these chore activities also keeps them humble. Imagine the positive effects on society when these children grow up.

My short visit to this wonderful school had left me in complete awe of the place. The school is a complete small wonder and fills you with positive energy instantly. Girls washing dishes in one corner, a class performing yoga in the courtyard, students roaring during their karate lessons, boys making each other’s moustaches to enact a play and girls and boys greeting you with an enthusiastic “Welcome to Gurukulam” is what you get to experience, all in a second at Gurukulam. Happy faces, cheerful and ambitious students and equally hard working teachers and staff are what makes Gurukulam. May there be more Gurukulams across our country and in fact, the world. There is immense need of many more Gurukulams and I wish the team success and luck to replicate such a model across the country. If you have time, please do go through the website and promote Gurukulam. A noble cause and beautiful children await you!

- Nidhi Singh

Friday, March 4, 2016

Our kitchen gets a facelift by our teachers and staff

03rd March 2016

Our kitchen was given a facelift by our teachers Abdul and Senthil along with our watchman Dayalan :-)

Mrs Yusuf and family visit Gurukulam

03rd March 2016

Mrs Yusuf and family visited the School at around lunch time and had lunch with Principal. 

They distributed Geometry Boxes and Stationary kit for Board Exam students for Classes X and XI.

Mrs Yusuf  also promised that she would sponsor one day's lunch during the picnic scheduled end March. 

She also felicitated and shared a few thoughts how Studying is important and preparation is the key to success 

Nudhara Yusuf handing over books to the students

Mrs Yusuf and family with our children