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My mother is a widowed housewife. Fortunately my father was a saver and she is financially stable. But nevertheless she is companionless and lonely. She volunteers at a NGO, Prayas. Prayas runs pavement schools for underprivileged children who receive inadequate or no access to education. Prayas has some 250 well-mannered and polite children.
Volunteers like my mother have done a very good job of teaching and grooming these children. And of course the children, who come from socially backward backgrounds, have done a brilliant job of learning. When I visit her, I sometimes accompany her to Prayas simply because it is endearing to watch these children. These children are so full of love and gratitude towards anyone who gives them love and care, that it emotionally overwhelming to be in their presence. It is a reminder too for me to be grateful to God and my loved ones for giving me everything that I have. Because the privileged ones like me often get too complaining and ungrateful, to appreciate what they have.
But that is not all. I also accompany my mother because I have a thing for people who strive to and eventually turn their lives around. I have a thing for such people mainly because of my father. My grandfather is and was a highly irresponsible man who did not give my grandmother a single penny for running the house and feeding her children. She had to survive on a meager sum sent to her by her brothers. My father of course had a hand to mouth living and was working since he was eight years old. But fortunately he was fond of studying and completed his graduation with support from my grandmother’s brothers. Given his background though, he was shy and under confident. Resultantly he was taken advantage of and never appreciated at his work place. Frustrated by slogging like a mule and receiving nothing but more work as reward, he decided to quit his job and start something of his own. Best thing that ever happened to him. Equipped with his intelligence and hard work and backed by my mother and grandmother’s support and love, he did really well and became one of the top 10 players in his field.  We are materialistically very comfortable now.
Although most of the children at Prayas are not very bright academically, there is a group of around 20 children who inspire me every time I meet them.
These children are very good at studies and want to turn their lives around. Since Prayas is a pavement school, there are disturbances and distractions in the environment. (Thankfully now the NGO has been sanctioned a reclusive garden by a local corporator for a few hours. The environment is much better now). But never would these children move their eyes away from their books, such was their dedication. All these children score above 80 percentage in their academics. Most of these children sponsored their pre-college education through scholarships (as their successors are doing now) and aspire to become engineers and doctors. One of them is already studying engineering at a very good engineering college in Mumbai. Another one is preparing for her medical entrance exam. I wish from all my heart that she and all the other children achieve their aspirations.
You can check out more about Prayas through their Facebook page (link at the end of the blog).
There is nothing more inspiring than people coming above their circumstances and turning their lives around. Will share more stories of such people who keep inspiring me. Have a nice day and keep watching this space.
Thank you for reading.
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