A token of love from Nikon
In an area like Mewat in Haryana, when we initially thought of promoting girl child education, it seemed to be an impossible task. People believed in age-old rituals and did not allow girls to step out of their house. Even today, in some of our classes we have very low girls to boys’ ratio despite our policy of “positive discrimination towards girl child”. We had to go an extra mile for bringing girls from their homes and even dropping them at their place after school to ensure their safety.
After some years, people started sending them to school. However, this was not the end of our struggle. As girls attained puberty, people started thinking of their marriage, ending their tryst with education, bringing us to a point where we began.
Numerous counseling sessions were organized to make the parents aware about the consequences of an early marriage. Despite our efforts, we could barely control the dropout rate due to safety concerns.
When we discussed the issue with Nikon India Private Limited, the organization came with a proposal to donate a bus, exclusively for the girl child. The 40-seater bus would ensure the safety of girls who come from far flung areas to the school. After lot of discussion and negotiation, Nikon was finally able to find a good dealer who could provide the kind of bus they planned to donate.
The bus equipped with required GPS facilities, space for placing school bags with an extra seats for two teachers to ensure the safety of girls was handed over last month with a small ceremony and a cultural programme. The occasion was graced with the presence of Managing Director of Nikon, Mr. Hiroshi Takashina and Mr. T K Mathew, our CEO, who gave the welcome speech and explained the relevance of the bus.
The audience, comprising of around 20 representatives from Nikon, staff from Deepalaya Head office and Gusbethi School and students, was surprised to hear the inaugural speech in Hindi from Mr. Hiroshi Takashina. There was a huge applaud as no one had expected that the Japanese representative would be able to speak such an eloquent Hindi. The message was loud and clear when he said, “apko Nikon ki taraf se ek khoobsurat tohfa. Umeed ha aap isko ache is istemal karenge and apko school ane mein dikkat nhi hogi.”
Thereafter, the school students put up scintillating dance performances and a Nazam. The students planned a Japanese folk dance, especially for Mr. Hiroshi Takashina, who praised the children for their effort. This was followed by ribbon cutting ceremony and handing over of Key by Mr. Takashina to Mr. Mathew. Thereafter, the bus, which was decorated from all sides with balloons and flowers, was flagged off with 40 girls for a small trip to a nearby village.
The handing over ceremony was a huge success. The bus was not only a donation or a gift but was a token of love for the girl child from Nikon.