Think about it. Wouldn’t it be awesome if your grandmother also went to school? You would come back home hand in hand with her, discuss and deliberate about your assignments, crib about your upcoming exams and dream about scoring awesome marks. While for many in India this might remain a dream, for some children in Maharashtra it is a reality.
It was on 8th March 2016, i.e., on the International Women’s Day that Aaajibaichi Shala (literally translating to School for Grannies) was set up. Situated in the Phangane village of Thane district, it is probably the first school for uneducated grandmas in India. It is open for all ladies above the age of 60 for two hours a day, provided they adhere to the uniform of pink saris. The women are taught basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills. The medium of instruction is Marathi, the language of the region.
The school has twenty eight students at present, but hopes to have increasing number of students in future. The people of the village have been very supportive, appreciating the initiative’s motto of inculcating love and respect for the elderly. The encouragement was very evident on the first day of school itself, where their whole families accompanied these women as they took their steps towards literacy. They study in a bamboo hut built under the shades of mango trees, decorated with streamers and flowers. The women sit cross legged on the mud floor, enthusiastic and eager to gain every ounce of knowledge.
The women themselves are very glad for this chance, having given up hopes of learning long ago. Being about to read and write their own name gives them immense joy. While learning is the main purpose, these women are also taught simple skills, along with becoming sensitized towards the environment.While going to school depends on the women’s will power, it is highly influenced by their family’s willingness to provide them an opportunity for education. So, as this academic year comes to an end, lets join our ends and encourage education for those who dream of going to school.