Gautam Buddha might have attained enlightenment under the Bodhgaya tree, but, these students are enlightened under the shade of “Shanti Bhavan”. Shanti Bhavan is a school that picks a child from financially backward families and one child per family is given the opportunity to study at this school. (Selection process : The child is chosen after a test). At the age of 4, a child is separated from his/her family (family gives priority to education) in order to attain world-class education from this school. Difficult for a four-year old to stay away from his/her parents at that age and this astonishes me. (Thank God, the family realizes the importance of education)
When I had asked a 12th class student, Kesh, about how those little naive kids deal with the separation from their families, his response was (in American accent) ” I was forced to join Shanti Bhavan at the age of four and I wanted to run away. I used to cry a lot and the I hurt myself so many times because I used to bite the iron grill. But, now I love this place”.
I do not know how they go through the trauma of being separated from their families and someday, get over it. The same is with their mothers who wait endlessly to see the glimpse of their child, but, unfortunately that happens only twice a year. (To gain something, you need to lose something)
This school also has volunteers who are selected from all over the world. Volunteers can teach any subject and the minimum period of stay is 4 weeks. If you wish to volunteer, you can check out this link : http://www.shantibhavanonline.org/
If you want to know more about the place, you have to visit it and you will fall in love with the place. I bet.
Equality of Religions
Whenever I think of these kids from Shanti Bhavan, I feel so ashamed of myself and many like me. The reason – Many of us had a secured upbringing, good clothes to wear, went to places for holidaying, complained about anything that spoilt our party plans and what not! And while complaining, we forget about how selfish we are. How many times we utter “I”? How self-centered can we be? It is always “I, Me, Myself”. When this is the attitude among us at every point of time, how would we change the world? and we call ourselves journalists…Duh!!
But these kids, though they haven’t been lucky enough like us , are being brought up so well that someday they will definitely outdo us and stand as financially stable and highly respected people in the society. The urge to farewell in life and succeed in life is evident when they communicate. They like what they do and that is how they live.
If you are in a dilemma about this school (for volunteers only), let me clear your doubts. You are given free stay and food. Most importantly, you are given an opportunity to shape the lives of those innocent kids who completely rely on you. So, it is worth all your effort.
You teach those kids and you also get to LEARN and connect to them which is one of the best things to do.
“We seek peace knowing that peace is the climate of freedom” – Dwight Eisenhower
Shanti Bhavan = Climate of freedom
If you want to know better about this school – here’s a student who gives you a tour of her perspective on Shanti Bhavan :
[P.S. – this had to be posted before my previous post. But, laziness overpowered my will to write – (only that day) not anymore] 😀 😛