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Children from Poor and Inhumane Background Going School for the First Time
 Dharam Veer
Kiran
Nancy
Mangal Kumar
Pradeep Kumar
Yash Kumar
Priyanka
Ek Koshish feels immense pleasure to write this blog that our constant efforts to make the children coming from the very very poor and inhumane background of society, eligible to take admissions in an English Medium Modern School.
Ek Koshish has been providing coaching and training continuously to 23 children since long for making them capable of receiving proper education at public schools so that they become successful in their lives and be equally placed in the society and get rid of the curse of poverty and inhumane livings. Out of these 23 children, seven children shown in the photos above have qualified for admissions in Dr Karam Vir Public School, an English Medium Public School at Faridabad. Ek Koshish has fully sponsored their entire admissions and monthly tuition fees and other expenses to be incurred on their education (uniforms, bags, books and other stationary etc) as their parents could not have afforded any of their expenses. Most of the parents are daily wage earners and seek the work on daily basis. They also belong to farfetched areas where life is too tough and harsh having always lack of even basic amenities and facilities and no education at all.
It was a matter of proud for entire team of Ek Koshish to see the parents of children so happy on the occasion of admissions of their children. They were very excited to see their children going for the first time to any school. It was visible on their faces that they could believe to see that their children would be admitted in an English medium public school in which children of the rich class also take education. During discussion with them, the parents of these children told that as far as their memory goes back, no one in their entire family had ever gone to any kind of school what to say of public school. All parents of these children are illiterate knowing no alphabet (except one i.e. father of Yash who attended primary school in village upto 2nd standard in village). The parents of these children have now started dreaming to make their children Engirneer, Doctor, Government officer etc. May God bless them to see their dreams turning out to be true!   
To see the ecstasy, joy and happiness and other mixed emotions of happiness (which is very difficult to express in words) on the innocent faces of these children, on the occasion of their admission, was really a great moment in our lives which one can really equate with ‘bliss’. 
The entire team of “Ek Koshish” is very very thankful to all who have contributed in this “one attempt” and further hope that the same co-operation shall be rendered to us for all such humane efforts dedicated to society. Ek Koshish is highly thankful to its volunteers specially Mrs Sunita and Mrs Daisy who have contributed a lot by putting thier much needed efforts to make these children capable for public schools. We are also thankful to Mrs Sunita who has in addition to her other efforts, taken the responsibility of Kiran also. 
Ek Koshish One Attempt
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PROGRESS OF THE ILLETRATE CHILDREN FROM SLUMS AT EK KOSHISH
It is rightly said in our scriptures : SHIKSHA DAAN MAHA DAAN (Gift of education is biggest one) 
Entire team of Ek Koshish feels happy and proud as the children (presently 9) whom  they have been teaching for 3-4 months are at least now ready for being compared with other school going children of the society. The Children at Ek Koshish have now started showing their keen interest in study. Some of the children has learnt alphabets, counting, reading and writing  words  etc along with some Hindi and English rhymes. They have also learnt manners.  As such in their attempt to prepare and provide proper education to the children coming from slums and under privileged society, the members of Ek Koshish have performed a commendable job appreciated by many in the society.  As a result of tremendous efforts of the entire team of Ek Koshish,  some of the public schools have shown their keen interest in giving admission to these children after judging the educational temperament of these students whom the team of Ek Koshish  has been preparing  and tuning by giving personal  one to one attention on each and every child.  If these children are sent to public schools, Ek Koshish would undertake the responsibility to bear all the expenses to be incurred on the education of these children at those schools. We hope that we shall continue in our endeavour with the co-operation and assistance provided by all our workers, members and patrons.
Congratulations to the entire team of ‘EK KOSHISH one attempt‘ ……. as our little attempt is going to be successful….
Chairperson,
EK KOSHISH one attempt
    
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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 
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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
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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!
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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.

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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!
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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!

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Yesterday, we held our “Ek Koshish, One Attempt” classes with our students from slum areas of Delhi NCR in Faridabad again! Yesterday, Vicky (about 4+ years old), the oldest of our male students, practiced using a pencil for the first time! I reviewed with him writing the numbers 1, 2, and 3, while he recited their names each time while writing them. The first time I asked him to recite the names of the numbers, he didn’t understand the point of the exercise; however, he is very bright, and soon understood how it would reinforce him to learn it appropriately. He then performed the exercise properly for the rest of the lesson! We also started our first letter, the letter “A,” which you can observe in the picture! It was difficult for him to grasp the pencil correctly at first, because it was such an alien concept to him; but, he soon got the hang of it. Badal, Ajay, and Mohini practiced oral exercises yesterday, learning English and Hindi nouns, like fruits, parts of the body, boy and girl, etc. Nancy, our most advanced student, practiced writing the numbers 1-10, and she also wrote the first few letters in the English alphabet. We are very proud of all of our students’ progress, and we hope to be able to refine them quick enough so that we can enroll them in a school in India: Our goal is to mainstream the children into a classroom, as they are not anywhere near the level they need to be at for the time being. We will then train another batch of students similarly, so that we don’t compromise the quality of our one-on-one tutoring facilities that we can currently offer our children.

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Yesterday was a very special day for us here at Ek Koshish! Our volunteer from the US, Justin ji (we add “ji” after someone’s name in Hindi as a a sign of respect), turned 24, and we threw him two special parties! For the first party, we invited the children from our school: The children didn’t even know what a birthday is, so we tried to organize the party to be as entertaining as possible.  When the children arrived, they all even had presents for the birthday boy! They brought two Cadbury chocolates and fresh flowers, which was inexplicably kind for these poverty-stricken children. We purchased a cake for the children, a bottle of pepsi, chips, cookies, two chocolates each, party hats, and noise makers, so that the children could feel that a birthday party is special! Once our students finished dancing to their heart’s content, they fed the birthday boy a piece of cake, which is a common tradition in India on birthdays. Then the children started eating the birthday snacks, and they were very happy to try all of these new treats, as they had never tasted pepsi, chips, or even cake before! Finally, we treated them to another cartoon, their first Daffy Duck cartoon, before the children had to get going. After our first party, we held a “pooja” (Hindi for an Indian prayer ceremony) at the volunteer’s host family home, and afterwards, when the entire family was back from work, they arranged a special fruit cake and gifts for Justin ji. After the family each fed Justin ji a little cake, one by one, there was a mini frosting-fight too! Enjoy the photos and the short clip of our students dancing!

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