Rotarian Arvind Agarwal was completing his morning walk when he found “the name board of Rishikul Higher Secondary School broken and fallen down.” He approached his club (RC Allahabad Elite) to renovate the school. Club President Ritesh Singh visited the school and found that the school needed water, toilets and a library. Jwala Devi School in the same region suffered from a similar plight. “Both these schools had been instituted to serve 600 underprivileged students. This made it more important to bring about the necessary change,” said Singh.
Within the next three months funds were allocated and work began. A water tank was installed, class rooms were white-washed and separate toilet blocks for girls and boys were constructed.
“Aisey laga jaise hamara farishton se rishta jud gaya (we got connected to the angels),” said Sheela, Principal of Rishikul Higher Secondary School. “Now the children don’t have to wait to find a toilet, don’t have to wait to wash their hands, they have a bench to sit on and most importantly, they don’t have to struggle to find a book,” she added.
“I remember a small boy who walked up to me and asked ‘Uncle, you built the toilet and library?’ When I said yes, he asked me, ‘Jhula kyun nahi lagvaya?’ (Why didn’t you install a swing?) I had no answer. That’s when I realised all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” said Singh.
Post construction of the toilets, a health and hygiene awareness programme was conducted for the students. “Now the children can relieve themselves without any embarrassment. For parents who cannot afford school fees, this comes as a big blessing,” said Sheela. But Singh says, “There is lot more work to be done. We are hoping to establish a Global Grant to fund the construction of classrooms and a shed for the open classroom and the play area, swing included!”