A day dedicated to the parents
When a project in the name of STEADY was designed for Asian Paints, it had a limited scope of reaching out to students, studying in schools located at Kasna, a village in Greater Noida. The pilot project aimed at giving self-defense training and career counseling to 2000 students. However, as the project moved on to the second phase after successful implementation of the pilot project, we found that there is a need to add another dimension it.
The government-driven Land acquisition has led to pseudo development of the area. While one region is characterized by sky-rocketing buildings, the inner region lacks basic infrastructural facilities. People still live with the age-old superstitions like child marriage. While career counseling gave necessary impetus to the students, who now know what they want to achieve, their parents still clinged onto their mindsets, resulting into a huge gap.
In view of this, we decided to conduct a session for counseling the parents on 9th February, 2015 on a pilot basis at S D Kanya Inter College, Bilaspur. The school lays emphasis on girl child education and the Principal, Ms. Mamta Sharma, apprised us about different problems faced by the girls in the area. We sent an invitation letter to the parents in advance. Mr. Love Chopra and Ms. Maitri, experts from careerguide.com were engaged to conduct the session. Necessary arrangements were also made to give refreshments to the parents and a small kit comprising of a writing pad, a pen and IEC material on role of parents for shaping the future of their child.
As parents arrived, Ms. Anita Kaul and Mr. Virender noted their details in a register. Ms. Jaswant Kaur interacted with the parents to have an overview about their socio-economic background and the problems they face in educating their children. It was observed that majority of the parents were Muslims. Some of the mothers who arrived were struggling to make both ends meet in the absence of any support from their husbands.
As crowd gathered, Mr. Virender started the session with a brief introduction about Deepalaya and Asian Paints. Thereafter, Mr. Love Chopra initiated the discussion with the help of a presentation and videos. The parents, especially the mothers, too raised queries about the future of their children which were adequately answered to.
Thereafter, Mr. K K Tripathi interacted with the parents for a few minutes and laid bare certain facts about the dogmatic attitude of the parents towards girl child education.
Towards the end of the session and based on the interaction with the parents, Ms. Jaswant Kaur informed the parents about Deepalaya Merit-cum-Means Loan Scholarships. The parents showed good response towards the scheme. She also informed them about certain schemes which have been floated by the government to help meritorious students from weaker section of society. The two-hour session came to an end with parents showing a renewed interest towards the girl-child education.
As the parents left the venue, a follow-up session with the students was also conducted. The students, who were given career counseling around a month back, were asked about their psychometric test reports. They were also asked whether they need some more information and were they comfortable with the format of the reports. The students responded positively.
As the session ended, the students flocked around Ms. Jaswant Kaur. Some girls also informed her that they want to study but their parents have decided to marry them after 12th. We asked them to get in touch with Ms. Mamta Sharma, the school Principal. In case they need help, we shall talk to their parents, till then they should concentrate on studies. The event was widely covered in the media.
The sessions presented the stark realities of village life in Greater Noida and gave us a reason to work with the people instead of concentrating on the students alone in the coming year.