How would a school in dilapidated state interest children?” asked Rtn Amit Chauhan when interviewed about the transformation his club, RC Bhuj Wall City, D 3060, brought to Ganesh Nagar Panchayat School at Bhuj.
The town saw major destruction after the earthquake that shook it in 2001 and this school was also not spared. Cracked walls, broken doors, windows and blackboards were few of the evidences of the calamity. Basic amenities such as water and toilets were also absent here, and make-shift classrooms accommodated students (whatever few who attended the school).
“For total literacy to happen children should feel enthusiastic to go to school and schools should be equipped sufficiently to attract children. Without child-centric and child-friendly learning environment, there is no use lamenting about the drop-out rates,” says Chauhan emphatically.
And today the pride in his team’s work in transforming the school to this extent is evident in his talk. “But lot more needs to be done and our club would certainly make it happen,” he says with confidence.
Rotary Club of Bhuj Wall City, D 3060, installed a library and equipped it with 650 books and cupboards at the school this year. The Rotarians gifted uniforms, sweaters, school bags and stationery kits to the students. They set up a games department and equipped it with carom boards, chess boards, badminton, cricket and volley ball kits which would go a long way in promoting love for sports among the young children. It has been the most frequented area of the school now.
The school has been adopted by the club since the past three years and minor renovations and infrastructure additions are being carried out in phases by the Rotarians. They have provided furniture, blackboards and toilet blocks earlier and have also renovated class rooms that had suffered the earthquake.
DG Jagdish Patel distributed shoes and socks sets to the children during his recent visit, and assured further assistance from the District Grant.
The school is situated in Ganesh Nagar, a cash-strapped community of 1,200 people earning their livelihood as hawkers, daily wage labourers and the women as housemaids. But they are particular about providing proper education for their children. The improved facilities have increased the school strength by 20 students this academic year from 189.
“My child insisted that he wanted to go to Ganesh Nagar school this year on hearing his friends talk about the sports facilities and the stories that they narrate from the books that they have read in the school library,” said a parent of one of the new admissions.
Taking into consideration the healthy well-being of the children, the club organises eye check-up camps and general medical camps annually, and provide spectacles and medicines for the needy children. Menstrual hygiene education and other relevant seminars are organised for adolescent students.
The recent medical camp revealed a cardiac disorder (septal defect) in a child which had not been noticed by the parents. Rtn Dr Monil, a paediatrician, referred her to Gadani Hospital, Ahmedabad, for further treatment. The Rotarians are helping the family with the paper work to avail the government policy scheme for her treatment.
The Rotarians also visit the school periodically and supervise the activities of the school such as the mid-day meals etc. They also spend their special occasions with the school children. “They are like part of our family,” says Chauhan.