A campus off Hennur road little away from the busy Bangalore roads, as we enter a security identifies we have an appointment and lets us in. Can hear the laughter of kids playing in the park, unable to resist I peek. Could witness over 5 BMTC buses parked along with the yellow school buses (why are Govt buses lined up here?) finding an answer didn’t matter as I was rushing to meet the students. I was stopped and directed to the office, a well-dressed Gentleman greeted and gave a complete download of the school. I was awed by every detail he mentioned about the school. As an Educational consultant in the CSR space, had few questions and couldn’t wait to go and check it, walked into the campus accompanied by a school staff.
Can this all even be true? Is it even possible on earth?
Campus was filled with trees, well-kept ground and building looked well maintained from outside. Entered class 1, Teacher gave a warm smile and explained that kids were doing their homework (Yes, the students finish homework before they leave school) even before I turned to have a conversation with the teacher, I heard a little girl saying “Good afternoon mam”, another kid asks “How are you mam” … a boy from the last row asks “Mam have you had lunch?” I was struggling to answer that quick, with a choked voice I respond, and they enthusiastically read a flash card with words and start making sentences and all hands went up when I asked a question, not a single kid was shy.
Now I believed every bit the Gentleman said about the school, I know I don’t have to see other classes as these kids in 1st are the ones who missed kindergarten due to Covid19 and in just 6 months into the school, they converse in English with a stranger with so much of confidence!!
Moved ahead knowing I had more surprises, to list a few
- Every kid who sees you inside the campus wished “Good afternoon mam”
- Every employee there carried a warm smile
- Corridors filled with interactive activities (notes on investor, entrepreneurship, D&I for class X kids was all over the notice board put up by the students)
- Walls filled with mural painting all done by the kids
- Staircase teaches you more than what’s in the books
- Small Groups here and there across the school doing remedial for kids in need
- Sports day practice was going on and I was lucky to watch it before their D Day… when I clapped and appreciated after their performance a little boy from class 5 says, “Mam please appreciate my teacher because she trained us” (no syllabus can teach gratitude)
- Their lunch area was spick and span though all 900 kids (KG to grade 12) had breakfast, lunch and evening snacks including staff (school management says if I can’t eat this food my kids can’t eat, so we all eat in school)
- The restrooms were just like another classroom (not exaggerating, no bad Odour or wet floors)
- Fully equipped Labs
- Career counselling centre supporting kids right from Class 5 till they buying a house after joining a job (alumni sitting to help their teachers as they are on semester holidays)
- Library the best I have seen in any school
- Art room with clay modelling and painting
- Music room with Indian and western musical instruments
A flying visit across the school and rushed to get a glimpse of the kids leaving, they boarded the buses in orderly fashion, happily chatting and talking to teachers. Few boarded the school bus and rest the govt buses. Few waved bye to me and not knowing I’m going to follow them to their homes.
Followed one of the buses it took me past the traffic into narrow roads and stopped on the side after few lefts and rights. On the left side parents were waiting to receive the kids.
When the coordinator introduced me, all of them stopped there on the road praising the school, I resonated the same. Took me to their homes, most of them were sweepers with BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike). My first question was “How do afford their fees?” a proud mom said “Mam we don’t pay a single penny!” .. While the conversation continued with parents, others got comfortable when they knew I speak Kannada. Another mom said “Mam the school takes care of our kids from the age of 5 , no fees no uniform cost and we don’t even pay the doctors when our kids fall I’ll or for their immunization” – and now you know why i claim it as HEAVEN ON EARTH and it is – Christel House India
I walked into their tightly packed walkway there were more things kept out rather than inside the house. The house could only hold the family and not their belongings. All the kids in the school belonged to the notified slums.
Spoke with them to know more about their women’s committee who have been given counselling on good parenting, schools functioning.
As a pay back to the school, every parent volunteer for 5 days in a year for the school helping them with any work that they can, like doing the laundry of kids uniforms, cleaning the ground, etc.,.
Left the place not being able to digest all I saw in one afternoon … A school admits kids at the age of 5 takes care of every need (yes, EVERY NEED) funds their higher education, hand holds them until they get to work and ensures they move out of poverty. The kid who was once an overhead to the government starts paying back the government in the form of Income tax. I couldn’t capture every detail of what was explained to me, I still can’t believe the CEO of Christel House School spent time explaining about the school to me with absolutely no expectations.
Watch this one single video to know what transformation means!
Picture credits: Christel House India – https://in.christelhouse.org/
Founder – Right Dots – CSR Consulting agency – https://rightdots.org/