For those who (like me) don’t know, montessori education system is a special kind of education system that emphasizes on independence, freedom within limits, and respect for a child’s physical, psychological and social development (Courtesy-wikipedia). You can google it for more info.
Siragu montessori school‘s mission is to bring education to under privileged children. They gather children who are forced to beg for a living, or whose parents have abandoned them, or whose families cannot afford to educate them, or just about any child that wants education and a respectable life but is not able to get it on his/her own. Not only education, but the school also ensures that the children have clothing to wear, food to eat, books to study and a place to call home. And they offer all of it free of cost. The word about siragu spread fast and people living around siragu started sending their kids to this school. Even for these day-scholars, the amenities of siragu remain free.
The company where I work at was doing a CSR event at this place. We contacted the school staff a few weeks before and asked them for the list of all the under privileged kids who live live at siragu and what is it that each of them wish to have, but have not been able to acquire it so far. Some wished they had school bags, some wished for shoes, calculators, pencil boxes and various other things. So, our company raised money to buy these things. A team of 5 of us, got all these things, piled them in a car and hauled it all to the school. Since there was not enough space in the car, I chose to travel on my bike.
JOURNEY TO SIRAGU
The school is located in a village called paalaveedu pettai, a village which is located 12kms away from avadi. It’s a road less traveled. It wasn’t even a proper road actually more like a make shift path in mud that led there.
I stopped on the way to do a couple of shots.
Since I was on my bike, I could make my way faster to the school. I reached at 2 hours before the others did. The school staff welcomed me in. I asked them if it’s ok with them to do some shots around the place until others arrived. They were ok with it. The vice principal of the school, sakkubai, gave me a tour of the place while I was at it.
The entrance of the school was preceded by a small bridge. It would take only about 4-5 steps for you to cross it. And then there was the gate with an arch that read the school name. I saw day scholars ready to leave home on their tricycles as I came in. But by the time I could prep my camera they had already left home. And since it was already late in the evening, I was loosing day light to get naturally well lit shots.
The staff co-operated really well in showing me around their classes and labs. They introduced me to icono-write. Some thing that I never knew before. Apparently, you draw stuff while writing about them. I had never heard of it before and don’t remember doing something like that during my school days either.
Before it was too late, I thought I should get the pictures of the staff while I can.
While I was taking the group shot of the staff, these ducks were trying to investigate what I was upto from behind me.
It became really dark now and I could not shoot without the help of the flash, so I stowed my camera. The staff there later explained about how the school manages its finances, their ideology, principles and some of their achievements.
The biggest achievement, apparently, was the story of a guy named Jai vel. As a young boy, Jai was rescued by R.N Muthuram, the founder of the school from begging at traffic signals. He proved to be an avid student and passed his 10th exams with fabulous results. Seeing his interest to purse education further, Muthuram further invested in Jai vel’s education. Today, Jai is apparently a student of automobile engineering in a reputed college in london.
As I heard from the staff there “The founders have mortgaged their own house in raising funds to start the school and to deal with the everyday finances. The school is also being backed by donations from various sources. Tech Mahindra, which is in the nearby vicinity of the school is taking care of the staff’s salaries.”
MAKING THEIR WISHES COME TRUE
Like I said earlier, we contacted the school a few weeks ago to get the list of the students and the things that they wish to get as gifts. We ensured that every child got what they wanted. Here are some of the shots of the gift distribution.
I distributed some too.
Here’s a shot of the kids enjoying their gifts.
Some final moments of the event.
And of course, can’t end it without the group shot.
I shot a 100+ shots but if I try to cram them all in here, the post will take forever to load. I’ve just curated some highlights of the evening.
After this experience, I’m thinking of getting a flash gun with a tilt and swivel head.