Blog Archives

 
 Pencil and Eraser- A real Inspiring Story 
 

Some of us have already lost either one or both or all of our “Erasers” But it’s still nice to be reminded of them!
   Pencil: I’m sorry !

Eraser: For what? You didn’t do anything wrong.
Pencil: I’m sorry because you get hurt because of me.
Whenever I made a mistake, you’re always there to erase it.
But as you make my mistakes vanish, you lose a part of yourself.
You get smaller and smaller each time.
Eraser: That’s true. But I don’t really mind. You see, I was made to do this.
I was made to help you whenever you do something wrong.
Even though one day, I know I’ll be gone and you’ll replace me with a new one,
I’m actually happy with my job.
So please, stop worrying. I hate seeing you sad.
Every one can find this conversation between the pencil and the eraser very inspirational.
Parents are like the eraser whereas their children are the pencil.
They’re always there for their children, cleaning up their mistakes.
Sometimes along the way, they get hurt, and become smaller / older, and eventually pass on.
Though their children will eventually find someone new (spouse),
But parents are still happy with what they do for their children,
And will always hate seeing their precious ones worrying, or sad.
All my life, I’ve been the pencil.
And it pains me to see the eraser that is my parents getting smaller and smaller each day.
For I know that one day,
All that I’m left with would be eraser shavings and memories of what I used to have.
“We never know the love of our parents for us 
Until we have became parents”
  
Let’s do Ek Koshish One Attempt- to make those happy who really sacrificed for us !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
No Comments

 
Talent Hunt by EK
Ek Koshish has been engaged actively in providing the education to those class of children which are not paid any attention by their parents as well as the Society. Ek Koshish accepts the children which have never been to any school and their parents can not afford them to go school for various reasons including the reason these children are the basis of their bread and butter as they has to work in their infant age for them in inhumane conditions. As such their childhood is spoiled and sacrificed due to their family needs and social backwardness. Games, sports, music etc which are essential for their growth are totally alien things for them.
However EK, with its attempts has started sports and music activities for the children who are coming  from this neglected class and hope that results would be better and EK may succeed in getting out some prominent children who could at least fulfill their dreams with proud and dignity.
In such efforts, EK has recognized talent of Cricket in one boy (EK do not want to publicize his name yet to give the whole word a surprise) who always dreams of Cricket. He wants to become Tendulkar. EK is trying its best to materialize his dream. Presently he is learning in a famous cricket academy and is preparing for playing a big tournament in future.   We wish him all the best!
Similarly we are trying to recognize other talents in children of this neglected class. And hope in our efforts, we shall succeed.
EK KOSHISH one attempt   
1 Comment
 

Raksha Bandhan (Raksha means protection and Bandhan means bond) is the name of a festival which is celebrated across the country irrespective of color, caste and creed.  It is the festival of bond of love between brothers and sisters. Today it is celebrated throughout the country with traditional fervour and enthusiasm. On this occasion, sisters tie Rakhi (Rakhi means a thread duely decorated) or sacred thread (a simple red or yellow thread) on the wrists of their brothers and pray for their well-being. Brothers, in turn, vow to protect their sisters amidst all circumstances.
For them who cannot understand this festival, it is just like tying of friendship band on friendship day. But the difference is that Raksha Bandhan is celebrated between brothers and sisters. However in India, devotees too surrender themselves before God offering Rakhis seeking protection and blessings of God. This is a unique festival by all means which causes immense love between a brother and sister. It is being celebrated since the time immemorial in Indian Culture. History is evident that whenever sisters have been in trouble, brothers have protected them from all problems with all their pelf and power.
Like all Indian festivals, the festival of Rakhi has numerous tales associated with it.  It is always interesting to know the tradition and mythology behind every festival and with the help of them the importance and spirit of any festival can be understood. The most important story about Raksha Bandhan from Indian religion and mythology is about Lord Krishana and Draupadi.
Once Lord Krishna got His hand injured while doing some work. Rukmani, His wife, immediately sent her servant to get a bandage cloth for the wound.  Sathyabama, His second wife rushed to bring some cloth herself.
Draupadi, whom Lord Krishna always took as Her Sister, was watching this incident and without waiting any more, she simply tore off a part of her sari (Indian dress of woman) and bandaged His hand.  
In return for this deed, Krishna promised to protect her from all troubles in time of her distress.
On this incident Lord Krishna uttered the words ‘Akshyam’ which means: ‘May it be unending’.  And we see that after this incident, this tradition of tying up sacred thread on the hand of brother is continuing in Indian Culture.
In Mahabharata (the Greatest War between Kauravas and Pandavas) , we find that when Draupadi was insulted in the court of King Dhritrashtra, father of Kauravs (symbol of evils) and when Duryodhan, son of the King, tried to disrobe her in the open court, that was how Draupadi’s sari became endless and Lord Krishna, her brother, saved her from insult and embarrassment.
In the medieval history of India, there is one more important and interesting tale of this bond of love between brothers and sisters.  This is the true incident which happened between Queen Karnawati and Mughal Emperor Humayun which is popularly known in India even today.
Widow queen Karnawati was ruling over Mewar region of India (Rajasthan) as a care taker empress after the death of her husband, King Rana Sanga. She was ruling in the name of her elder son, Vikramjeet Singh.
When Bahadur Shah of Gujarat region attacked Mewar for the second time, the queen, begged her nobles for support in that time of crisis but  they betrayed the queen.
Knowing this betrayal, queen Karnawati  wrote to Humayun, the then Mughal Emperor of Delhi for help. She also sent him a Rakhi and sought protection.
It is very interesting to know that Humayun’s father Babur had already defeated King Rana Sanga in a fierce battle in 1527. As such there was an enmity between both states.
When the Rakhi sent by the queen reached Humayun, he was in the middle of another military campaign. He took that call for help immediately abandoning that military campaign,  he rushed to Mewar for help of queen Karnawati.
But unfortunately, he could not make it on time as the queen’s army was defeated in Chittor and queen Karnawati committed Jauhar (an act of self-immolation to protect herself from indignity of falling in the hands of enemy)
Bahadur Shah however could not go any further and had to turn away from Chittor as Humayun’s military reinforcements arrived by then to give fight to Bahadur Shah. Bahadur Shah was defeated. Humayun then restored the kingdom to Karnawati’s son, Vikramjit. As such Humayun kept his word to protect the sister who sent him a Rakhi.


As such this is a wonderful festival of brothers and sisters. This festival also plays an important role in the society. This festival strengthens fraternal feelings and the spirit of kindness and goodwill in the society. This festival promotes harmonious social life by reaffirming the faith of citizens in the traditional values of love and protection fostering community bonding irrespective of caste, creed and color and highlights the importance of women in Indian society not only as a mother but also as a sister.

Ek Koshish One Attempt too celebrated this festival of Rakhsha Bandhan with its little brothers and sisters. All little sisters tied Rakhis on the small wrists of their little brothers and entire team of Ek Koshish, put tikas (putting red color and rice on foredhead)  on their foreheads, distributed sweets and some money was given by the brothers to their sisters as a token of love and affection towards their sisters. We hope that we shall succeed in our vow to protect these younger brothers and sisters from all distresses of their life through better education and training.  
EK KOSHISH, One Attempt 
1 Comment
 
Classes of children are continuously running at ours. This week, a new batch of five more children namely Mangal (10 Years), Kiran (8 Year girl), Jatin (5 Years), Bina (7 Year girl) and Priya (9 year girl) has started at Ek Koshish.  All children are very happy and pay attention on whatever is taught to them.  Mangal and Bina seem to be very brilliant students and within a period of 4-5 days, they have learnt counting from 0-9 and some of the alphabets.  They did not have any school background nor have their parents any education. They belong to the poorest strata of human society.  Priya is also intelligent girl having a little school background. She has a great potential to learn.  
Seeing these children, one may realise that God does not craft any discrimination while sending souls on earth. It is the society where shackles of rich and poor exist due to human greed and selfish ends, and opportunities are availed by human beings only on this pattern of society based on richness and selfishness. We pray God that we may go ahead in our attempts to educate these underprivileged children. We will be rewarded enough if every one of capable ones could do Ek Koshish (one attempt) to provide them education in their becoming good citizens and a future voice of our country as well as the whole world.   

We also express our sincere thanks to the people contributing with their time and funds in our attempts to take this noble venture ahead.
Ek Koshish One Attempt
1 Comment
 
Today, we were very surprised to see that our students brought a friend with them to our daily classes for illiterate children living in poverty: His name is Karan (depicted above), and he goes to an Indian government-run school in the neighborhood. Karan came knowing the alphabet and the Hindi “prathmik gyan” (how we say “alphabet” in Hindi), but he still struggles with both sets of characters. Though he can read each of the characters properly in either language, he has a difficult time remembering the correct order of the symbols and cannot recall the letters from memory. Karan’s arrival marks a milestone for our NGO, as our classes have been offering the children a safe environment, where they are motivated to come, learn, and work hard to achieve their goals. We are very proud that our students are enlightening their friends to join our classes to enrich their lives with precious knowledge.
On another note, our volunteer from the US, Justin ji, has been spending extensive time with each child, especially Arun, to ensure that they properly learn the material they have been taught in their school. Arun, Priya, and Karan all attend government schools, but they lack discipline and sometimes learn material incorrectly when they practice and memorize their coursework at home. It was troublesome for Arun to forget his mistakes and relearn the English alphabet (as he had forgotten the letters “E” and “F,” moving from “D” to “G,” among other mishaps), but Justin ji’s arduous rehearsals of the alphabet finally made an impression on Arun’s mind, as he has relearned the alphabet correctly. We hope we can meet more volunteers who can help us with our mission to illuminate these children out of ignorance. Stay posted on our blog, as we have a variety of new ideas to share in the coming posts!
No Comments
 

I am writing today because I witnessed a very inspiring sight yesterday when I was invited for lunch at a neighbor’s home. The neighbor has adult children, and runs a home filled with his children and grandchildren, with the help of one maid. Though the work appeared to be very demanding, once everyone was out of the house, and I was there sipping some chai, I overheard, from across the room, somebody was reciting the English alphabet, in a very heavy accent. When I looked over, I noticed the maid herself was reading from a notebook aloud! It was quite surprising to see that this young maid, who doesn’t attend any school, took the initiative to start to learn English on her own, as she practiced reading the alphabet correctly from memory. Even more surprising to me was that the family that invited me for lunch doesn’t speak any English really at all: They simply enjoy my company! The maid had no access to any English newspaper, as the family only receives a copy of the news in Hindi each day, and yet the family still took the time to offer their maid English lessons. I am still surprised with what I witnessed, but it is very heartening to see that many average, middle-class people in India do want to help out their illiterate brothers and sisters in India. We should not take our own education for granted, as I never realized how precious being able to read a sign or write a message really is until I started working with Ek Koshish.

As we have been keeping up with our classes, I am posting a picture from our last lesson with the children, when we practiced dictation with the advanced class, and continued with basic numbers and letters with our beginners.

No Comments
 

Last night, we held the second class with our newest students at Ek Koshish. The children came eagerly to class, excited to learn new material, as they had been out of school all summer up until now. With Arun, we got to work on learning all of his capital letters in cursive, as he had advanced up to this level. He was having trouble with capital G, but we taught him the correct way. Interestingly enough, the cursive script we use in India is quite different from the cursive script we are taught in the US, especially when it comes to capital letters: so, I too learned how to write the cursive letters in English when in India! Arun has mastered the first half of the alphabet in cursive, and he knows all of the letters in printed form as well. Poonam, the youngest of the children, is surprisingly advanced, compared to her older brother and sister, as she knows the whole alphabet, and knew how to add and subtract small numbers. Priya was very good in her addition and subtraction practice with us, so we gave her some more advanced practice with adding and subtracting: Soon we can teach her how to carry over numbers when adding. When I spent time with Nancy, she showed great progress with her counting numbers, on her own, up to twenty, and recognizing their corresponding symbols by heart. Badal, up until yesterday, could not draw any number besides “1,” but yesterday the director from Ek Koshish sat with him and helped him to be able to write the number “2” on his own! He drew the number several times for practice, and we hope that he can move on to more numbers in the coming lessons. Finally, Vicky is still having a hard time recognizing that letters aren’t numbers, but he has been practicing writing the capital letters “A” and “B” quite well, and can write the numbers “1-4” like a natural now. I am very proud of our bright young students, who are desperate to escape from the life of poverty they currently lead.

No Comments
 

Yesterday, Ek Koshish hosted a new class of children who come from slum areas of Delhi NCR in Faridabad: Four children, Arun (about 7 years old), Priya (about 9 years old), Monika (about 5 years old), and Poonam (about 2-3 years old), attended their first class with us. In the picture, see Poonam, Priya, and Arun as they diligently took out their English notebooks and got to work at the beginning of class. Poonam is too young to join our classes, but the rest of the children have already learned quite a bit. They have been going to a government school in the neighborhood; however, they have not shown much progress with their work. They have learned the English alphabet, counting up to one hundred in English, and some of the “Prathmik gyan” (the Hindi words meaning “alphabet”), but they have not accelerated beyond this point in their studies. They live not too far away from the Ek Koshish office, so we have welcomed them into our study group. Because it was our first day with the children, we learned about what the children have already learned, their weaknesses, and where they left off in their studies since summer vacation started. We look forward to working with our new students, who are more used to the routine of a structured classroom, and we hope that they too will help their fellow students, who are struggling, but determinedly proceeding, with the English alphabet!
No Comments
 

In our last lesson with our students from Ek Koshish, we accomplished a lot with our students who were interested in learning. I spent a lot of time with Vicky, making sure he understood the differences between the numbers 1, 2, and 3, which he was able to write well. He was very confused that each different symbol had a different name, because at first he would say that each of the symbols were simply the number 1. By the end of the lesson though, he understood it, but he will need to practice it a lot, because he has to take a lot of time to process the information and remember which symbol stood for which number. I also spent a lot of time with him on the letter A (capital). He can also write this one well, having learned how to properly hold a pencil, but he still thinks that the letter is one of the numbers. We do explain it to him every time, and he starts to understand; however, after ten minutes without persistently asking him, he quickly forgets and thinks that it is also a number. He is very bright though, and he honestly does try his very best, it will just take some time for the information to sink in. Otherwise, he is very attentive, never gives up, and walks into class with the biggest smile of all of the children!

Badal, on the other hand, does try a little, but I believe he is simply too young to pay too much attention to our classes, since he is about only three years old. He has learned how to count to seven in English now, and he has understood some common English parts of the body, so he is capable of learning, but we have to move at a slower pace with him. He is too young to properly use a pencil as well, so we will continue with chalk and oral exercises. Ajay though, is a very difficult child with whom to work: There is a word for his character in Hindi, which I have come to learn. He is not just stubborn, but “Akru” (the Hindi word for “obstinate”). He comes with the intent to have fun, and never try to work. Then, when we give the children treats, he is unwilling to work for his treat. At first, how could we deny giving this poor child from the slums a piece of candy or other special treat we bring for the children? I didn’t have the heart to deny him. But, now we have refused to give him any treats until he is willing to work. His mother, a fellow classmate of his, is very disappointed in his work, and she even encourages us to use violence with him so he can learn, but we refuse to resort to any such methods for teaching the children. We want our classroom to be a safe place for the children, to where they always look forward to coming. If he continues with this staunch attitude, we will make him miss one of our classes as a punishment: When he sees his friends earn their treats and come back from their lessons happily, he will want to come and earn his treats too. Let’s see if we have to enforce this new plan of action or not!

Our other two students, Mohini and Nancy, have been learning at a very rapid pace! Mohini can recall “A for apple, B for boy, C for cat, D for dog” flawlessly, while recognizing the shapes of the symbols from memory. Mohini, having worked as a maid and washerwoman’s wife for several years now, can count and recognize the symbols on paper, as she needs to know how to count to earn. Nancy, though, still hasn’t mastered English counting one through ten, but she does recognize the shapes. When we mix up the numbers for her and ask her to recall any given symbol, she then is unable to do so, without us explaining to her to think of all of the symbols in order before reaching the answer to our question. Nancy has also been practicing several English nouns, after learning to read and write the first few letters in the alphabet. We are very proud of our students’ progress, and we are looking forward to working with them again soon! Now, we are looking into arranging one more class, so that we can tutor two different sets of children at the same time. We don’t want to handle more than two different batches of students at one time though, because we don’t want to compromise the quality of education we offer the children with one on one tutoring for bigger classrooms. I am very lucky to have been helping out and working with the Ek Koshish team!

No Comments
 

I want to talk about my experience as a volunteer in India with Ek Koshish, One Attempt. Being here has been one of the most memorable and wonderful experiences in my life: Not only am I volunteering, giving back to the desperately needy community here in Faridabad, but I am also learning so much about Indian culture and Hinduism. Working as a volunteer has been an incredible way to learn and improve my Hindi; should anyone be interested in learning this beautiful language, I can guarantee that working with “Ek Koshish, One Attempt” would undoubtedly accelerate anyone’s understanding of Hindi or even Indian traditions. The Ek Koshish team is superb, as they truly care about the projects they run and the people to whom they reach out.

For example, this picture, taken during yesterday’s lesson, depicts the many kindnesses of the people who run this NGO: The clothes that our student Vicky is wearing, were recently donated to him by the Ek Koshish staff, because he lacked proper clothing. The team at Ek Koshish also purchased all of their school supplies, donated all of their time to tutoring this student and his family and neighbors, and even offered their own home as a classroom for yesterday’s lesson: Because of the unbearable heat, the head of Ek Koshish insisted that the children study in his home comfortably, with the luxury of air conditioning. When I was overhearing other locals’ reactions to our work here, they had very negative feedback about inviting such children into one’s home. I suppose they don’t mind these children coming to work in their houses, but they cannot consider the children enjoying a birthday party or learning to read and write in their own homes. At least it’s nice to see that the people who run Ek Koshish’s NGO do not have this attitude, not even in the slightest!

As a final note, I want to emphasize that volunteering with Ek Koshish is essentially a free trip to India with volunteering arrangements ready for anyone. Of course, there is a very minimal fee for housing, but this is not incumbent upon anyone: If you want to just come and visit Ek Koshish for a day, you are more than welcome to do so; if you know anyone living in Faridabad, you can stay with them and volunteer for free. Otherwise, the very minimal living expenses here in India would be around $150 USD for one month of room and board, use of utilities, and three meals daily, all included. Though funds are very tight with Ek Koshish, they do not have any interest in charging volunteers to work and help the community. I highly recommend this experience, not only to those readers out there who are my friends and family, but to anyone interested in this sincerely altruistic cause!

No Comments
123