Lucknow: They are students who become teachers by evening to make street urchins and poor children literate! Ten undergraduates from Uttar Pradesh`s Indian Institute of Information Technology-Allahabad (IIIT-A) feel they are already doing their bit for society.
The third year students are fighting illiteracy in their own way by teaching the poor children of the areas adjoining their institute in the Jhalwa area.
"If you are a student of a renowned institute like ours, people have high expectations from you. They expect you will work for the nation`s development," Rahul Kumar, a student involved in the teaching, told reporters on phone from Allahabad, 200 km from Lucknow.
"We still don`t know in which company we would be employed but are quite happy that we have already started living up to the expectations of the people," he said.
"We are just shouldering our social responsibility. You need not have huge resources to undertake such a project. Only determination, ability to take an initiative and an urge to work for society are required to contribute your bit to the nation`s development," he added.
Over 100 children belonging to poor families of vegetable and street vendors, labourers, rickshaw-pullers and those involved in garbage collection are currently being taught by the IIIT-A students.
IIIT-A was established in 1999 as a centre of excellence in information technology and allied areas. The institute was conferred the "deemed university" status by the Indian government in 2000.
For the last three years, IIIT-A students are involved in teaching the poor children on the premises of a school situated near the institute.
"We are grateful to the school authorities who don`t charge anything from us for using their premises. Daily in the evening we take two-three hours classes for the poor children," said Kumar.
Recognition of Hindi and English alphabets and mathematical calculations form the course content for the kids aged 6-14 years.
The engineering students also hold a joint class of moral teaching for the students.
"Making them lettered is our objective but that will have no worth if we are unable to inculcate moral values among them. With the help of short stories we try to impart moral teachings that will transform them into good human beings," Kumar said.
The IIIT-A students, who do not charge anything from the children, even provide them with text books, exercise books and other stationery items.
"We do it by raising funds. Though a limited number of students are involved in the teaching, we get assistance from our institute`s friends who support us financially for the smooth functioning of our project," said IIIT-A student Abhinav Gupta.
What prompted them to undertake such an exercise?
"We saw some of our seniors, who are now pass-outs, teaching street urchins informally. This inspired us a lot. We thought if our seniors can take out time from their busy schedule, why can`t we," Gupta asked.
The initiative by IIIT-A students is being lauded by the local people.
"They are doing a remarkable job. They have given us a lesson how you can serve the country with a limited resource," said retired school teacher Bhagwati Prasad Khare.
Said Prem Kumar Banarwal who owns an eating joint: "If everyone of us start shouldering our social responsibility like the IIIT-A students, I feel we would make our nation quite progressive."