Monday, July 1, 2013

Suma blooms!!!

She is 12 years young. She joined Kaliyuva Mane only last year.   She can read 7th standard Kannada lessons now.  She has learnt all the basic arithmetic operations. She can speak a few English words.  Well, someone  may ask us, " What is so great about this?"  Have a look at her academic report  just a year ago!. click on the link below :

 She has regained her lost enthusiasm for studies.  Watch her reading Kannada.

Now she wants to become a teacher at Kaliyuva Mane.  She  is learning English too!  Despite our fight with the system (about land, about recognition for the school, about registration of the vehicle, about funds), our journey inside the young minds is very very pleasant and adventurous too!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Where is the school for this deprived child?

30th May 2013 - A child joined Kaliyuva Mane as a resident scholar - 12 years young – No parents - rural background - Staying with his illiterate grandmother - Due to inherent dislike for structured studies, rote learning and lack of parental guidance, the boy had dropped out of Kannada medium rural school after 3rd standard –  came to know about two school dropouts from his village, continuing education after passing SSLC in English medium  – One of his well-wishers brought him to Kaliyuva Mane – A desire to learn, which was hitherto latent in him has surfaced NOW.
There are orphanages for him.   Even that is doubtful.  For admission, death certificate of one of the parents is a must.  But where is the school for him?  RTE Act ensures admission into schools for all the children below 14 years.  But does it ensure learning?   It is a challenge for Kaliyuva Mane to build his future.  Keep him happy, motivate him to study, start teaching from scratch,….     
Kaliyuva Mane has not only implemented RTE Act in spirit, but has gone beyond RTE.   It is an irony that Kaliyuva Mane lacks recognition from the Education department.   Forget about Government support, often its rules and regulations have become stumbling blocks for Kaliyuva Mane.   We are buying 24 seater school bus for ferrying school dropouts, first generation school goers and children labelled as ‘slow learners’ from far off villages.  Because our education system is not recognized, we have to pay 40 times more road tax!   We have to run pillar to post to get documents such as study certificate and rural certificate.   
DDPI has come to our school and has left this remark in the guestbook, “The school premises were very pleasant”.    On 29th December 2012, Block education Officer, Mysore Rural visited Kaliyuva Mane.  He was happy and has left the following remark in our guestbook, “Good learning environment exists. The method of teaching considering not only the age, but the lacunae in learning, is really special here.”   The Karnataka Government, labour department has carried a 4 page article on our alternative school, ‘Kaliyuva Mane’.  

We have filed an application seeking recognition for Kaliyuva Mane.   But BEO feels, there is no space in the education system for innovative/alternate thinking.  It is only a prerogative of the Government.   Finally he has agreed to forward our letter to the Commissioner – Education.   Democracy means Government of the people, by the people and for the people! – only on paper!

As a last resort, in November, I tried to meet the then education minister, Mr. Kageri  Vishweshwara Hegde.  I got his number from the net.  Dialled the number, felt so happy to hear the voice of his personal secretary.  I requested for an appointment with the education minister and got immediately.  Next day, i.e. on 26-11-2012  at 4.00 am I boarded the Bangalore bus.   I was the first one to sit in front of Kageri’s room waiting.   By 8.45 am the room door opened.  We were let inside.  There were about 20 people waiting to meet him.  I was allowed inside.  I started off the conversation, “Namaskara, we are running a school…….”  I was interrupted by his impatient voice,   “What do you want, tell me fast”   I wanted at least 15 minutes to articulate about Kaliyuva Mane.    The best thing I could do was to invite him to our school.  Unfortunately, God forgot to give me the ‘Gift of gab’.  I am not blaming the education minister.  He must have been very busy on that particular day.   I am blaming the system.  At least he could have had a secretary who could devote adequate time to solve common man’s problems.

I am neither rich nor politically connected.  I am neither a cricketer nor a film actor.   I am a low profile common citizen.   I know how difficult it is to meet local MLA for a common citizen like me?  So the system has to be changed for better participation of the common citizen in the governance of the country.  When?, How?,  are the million dollar questions!

Ananth Kumar – First volunteer

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Yet another milestone

We feel very happy to share with you this news.  Yesterday 10th standard results were out.  All the 3 children Anand (15years),  Shivu (15years) and Kartik(16 years) of Chaitanya group who had appeared for the 10th standard exams from Kaliyuva Mane have passed  in flying colours.  Anand and Shivu have secured FIRST CLASS.  All have cleared the exams in English medium successfully crossing different domestic, economic, educational and emotional hurdles.

One boy is a first generation school goer from a village near HD Kote.  He was going to a rural Kannada medium free school.  The child was a zero level learner in that school.    Another child is motherless and his father is blind. He was studying in a Govt. Kannada medium school in a village prior to joining Kaliyuva Mane in 2010 as a resident scholar.  Another child is from a broken family. Father is not staying with the family. Mother sells fruits near bus station. The child was not going to the formal school regularly in spite of the best efforts of the mother.  Mother had changed the school for the boy thrice earlier.

All the children studied at Kaliyuva Mane as resident scholars.  [a free school including food, accommodation, entertainment and  medicare].  Nobody was sent to any outside formal school.   These were educated in a special way.  A new education system has emerged here at  ‘Kaliyuva Mane’.   This free experimental residential school is reaching out to more and more rural opportunity deprived children every year.    It is soon reaching its capacity of 100 children including 36 resident scholars.
At this happy moment, we express our deep gratitude to all of you - the patrons, volunteers and well-wishers for your support.  Needless to say we need your support always.   Kaliyuva Mane welcomes you all.   For updates :

for Diyvadeepa family

Thursday, April 18, 2013

First resort of a patriot - POLITICS

There are good and bad engineers.  There are good and bad doctors.  There are good and bad teachers…..  But even today the words ‘Engineer’, ‘Doctor’ and ‘Teacher’ connote a positive vibration.  But thanks to our politicians, they have managed to change the meaning of the word ‘Politics’.   This word instead of meaning ‘Art or science of government’ connotes negative and repulsive vibrations.  When greed for power and money raises its ugly head anywhere, we suspect the entry of politics, whether it is a temple or an educational institution.

Now I would like to introduce a patriot  by name C.K. Naveena, CEO of Karthavya IT solutions.  It was in 2006 January, one of Divyadeepa’s wellwisher introduced C.K. Naveena to me.  A huge photograph of  my hero, ‘Swami Vivekananda’  adorned a wall of his office.  He spoke softly.  He expressed his desire to visit Kaliyuva Mane.  A few youth visited Kaliyuva mane a few days later.   I’m not sure of the date, may be in February 2006, I received a call from him.  Myself, Padma and Srikrishna were in Mysore city.  Naveena invited us to attend website launching function of his company.  Swamy Nithyasthanandaji of Sri Ramakrishna Ashram was there to launch the website.  As usual I sat in a corner.  Suddenly Naveena requested me to speak a few words about Kaliyuva Mane.  I know pretty well how good I am at public speaking!  Somehow I uttered a few words and invited all the people who had gathered there to Kaliyuva Mane.  After the meeting was over, a few youth ( I am sure of Ashwin, Saurabh and Neetu ) came to me.  We were discussing informally.  They were keen to visit Kaliyuva Mane.  After a few days 16 youth came by 8 bikes to Kaliyuva Mane and expressed their happiness to support Kaliyuva Mane.  That was the beginning of volunteers’ movement!!!

Later onwards Naveena interviewed me for his ‘’.   At that time I also asked him a few questions.  He expressed his inclination towards entering politics.  My anathema for politics is well-known.  But why not? He has the fire in his belly.  He is honest.  He is educated.  He is an Engineer.  He is young.  Below 30!  More than everything, he is committed.  What other qualifications you need?  He is contesting from Krishnaraja constituency.  Unfortunately I cannot vote for him, as I stay in a different constituency.  He needs our support.  He also needs the support of Divyadeepa volunteers.

Naveena, God bless you!  More and more honest, educated patriots should enter politics.  The word, ‘Politics’ should regain its lost meaning.  This word should bring back to our memories the contributions of politicians of the calibre of  Lal Bahadur Sastry.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Journey inside the young minds!!!

Admission No. 145 ((A boy)
Date of Admission : 16-08-2012

On 16th August 2012, 3 persons belonging to 3 different generations visited Kaliyuva Mane - a 9 or 10 year old young boy, his mother and an old man from Kenchalagudu village.   The mother and son were from a far off village.  The father was an alcoholic addict.   According to the mother of the boy, her husband had extra-marital affairs and used to visit home occasionally.   Both the parents were illiterates.   The mother could not check her tears while revealing this.   The mother used to work as a coolie.  
The son used to go to a Kannada medium rural mainstream free school.   But due to some reasons, he stopped going to the school.  At that time he was studying in 5th standard. (Later, the mother submitted the boy’s 4th standard progress report)  But unfortunately the boy fell into bad company and started stealing.  He used to get caught in the act sometimes and punished by the owners.  The boy’s mother became restless.  Her anxiety about the future of her only son also started growing.  Out of anger and desperation, the mother started beating her son. 
We could notice 6 or 8 burnt marks on the boy’s body.  These were clearly the marks of the frustration of his mother. An old man from Kenchalagudu brought the boy’s mother to Kaliyuva Mane.  The boy’s mother wanted admission for him as a resident scholar.   It was difficult for us to accommodate him as a resident scholar.   We admitted him as a day scholar. 
This way the boy joined Kaliyuva Mane.   But the same afternoon he was on the verge of leaving the school.  The reason: one of our new teachers had scolded him for his bad behaviour.   During lunch time, we found the boy missing.  Getting some clue from one of the children, Mahadeva Swamy, one of our staff members took scooter and brought him back to Kaliyuva Mane.  In the evening, we all the discussed about the boy’s future.   There were two options for us, either to send him out of Kaliyuva Mane which would make him an antisocial element or to try to mend the boy to the best of our ability.  So we spoke to the boy, gave him the freedom to attend the classes whenever he liked.   He used to play the slide and swing.   One day he came to the computer lab.  He started coming to computer classes alone.  One of our school teachers, Kavita offered him a new set of clothes, a pair of slippers. Kavita has excellent soft skills.  On that night his mother called us and enquired whether her son had stolen any material from the school!   He started attending that particular teacher’s classes.  Gradually he started attending all the classes.  We were happy seeing the transformation in the boy!
After 3 months, he instigated one resident scholar to steal some money from one of the German volunteers.   The boy shared the booty with other friends.  This was really shocking and shameful for us.  What our foreign guest think about Indians?  But we did not know how to handle the situation.  After this incident, the boy did not come to Kaliyuva Mane for a week.   After a week, his mother brought him to the school.  For one week, we made him sit alone in Kaliyuva Mane’s office for contemplation.  On hourly basis, one of the teachers used to sit with him and counsel.  
Now, after 7 months, he is attending all the classes regularly and learning well.  He does not use vulgar words.  He is less quarrelsome.  But the million dollar question is, “Is this transformation permanent?”    His mother is happy.   We really don’t know how to handle the situation, if he starts stealing again.  Pray and hope, he will not!