The Right to Dream

The Right to Dream

"Scientist", "Doctor","Military man", "Magician","Police","Surgeon"……. the excited responses came at a speed faster than I could hear. Little hands went up enthusiastically and small squeaky voices kept shouting their choices ,uninhibited and bold. As I heard these class 1 to class 8
children answer my question ,"What do you want to do when your become big ?", my smile kept becoming broader and bigger. Not because these were any unusual choices of professions , but because they were dreams of the children of a our school in Dharavi, Mumbai - Asia's largest and most notorious slum

Today I spent over 2 hours with the children and teachers of this Sri Sri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir's( SSRVM) flagship urban slum school. Inspired by Gurudev H H Sri Sri Ravi Shankarji , 3 committed and courageous young men started this school in what used to be a garbage yard 9 years ago. Today 342 children get high quality ,holistic & value based education, in neat tidy classrooms with science and computer laboratories, state of the art teaching aids, nutritious food and clean drinking water in a safe, loving ,joyful atmosphere, almost free.

A team of 25 well trained teachers and volunteers have taken upon themselves to ensure that these children lack nothing ( academics, extra curricular activities, field trips etc) in comparison to their more fortunate counterparts. It was humbling to see the resolve in their eyes to make these children strong,capable citizens of the world.

The efforts showed. Though seated neatly in rows and columns because teacher ( Thats me!) would be talking to them, their innocent banter & friendly chatter reflected their
innocence yet fearlessness. They knew the answer to every question I asked them ! How many cows are there in The Art of Living Bangalore ashram, names of our elephants, why we should pray etc ! I must admit that what stumped me was when these little ones wanted to hear a story about Gurudev ! When I started, all the chatter quietened and 750 pairs of eyes and ears were rapt in attention in pin drop silence !

And why not ! He is the one who has given them and 23500 more such children an opportunity to educate themselves ! Under the aegis of Ved Vignan Maha Vidya Peeth( VVMVP) , we run 178 free rural schools across India , where children who are mostly first generation literates, get education, mid day meals, books, uniforms , transportation - all free. ( More on these schools in another posting)

On my way home from the Dharavi school , I couldn't but think how fortunate I was to be a small part of Gurudev's big grand design of making a difference to the world. An afternoon spent like this , is a reality check , for it gives me a perspective on how much to be grateful and how much to grumble !

Gurudev has said, " Know that you are born in this world to do something wonderful & unique. Give yourself the freedom to dream & think big ". Thanks to His vision, thousands of children are getting opportunities ,hardly any others in their previous generations have got. They will find their rightful place in the world for they have found their Right to Dream !

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