Nalini G., Principal, Christel House India
Two years ago I came to Lavasa to be a part of the school being set up there for its rural children; many of them first generation learners. With its picturesque setting, its silent lakes, its steep mountains, gushing waterfalls, myriad hues of varying color, I thought I had entered a dreamland with a dream job.
We started brick by brick, child by child, but soon realized that there were many challenges. Rumblings of distrust became palpable in the local parent communities. They could not believe that there could be an English medium school totally free of cost that also provided food, transportation, and medical facilities. Their doubts translated into rumors that an English medium school will make our children misfits in society... once children are admitted they will be forced to pay fees or donations. Well, I suppose in today’s world, philanthropy is rarely understood and almost never believed. Subsequently, more challenges surfaced. Finding teachers became a Herculean task. Distance, difficult terrain, and uncongenial weather were huge dampeners. Three months of continuous rainfall resulted in frequent absenteeism in children. And then there was the challenge of getting children to learn the English language, language which would empower and connect them to the world.
We sincerely, assiduously and determinedly went about our work. Creative and interesting ways to induct our children into the language were thought out. As fish take to water, our children took to the language. Their eagerness acted as a spur for our teachers. Communities started understanding the transformation in their kids and acknowledged our efforts by conferring an award on us.
And today, when I see the happy faces of our children and staff walking in every day to school with irrepressible enthusiasm defying all odds, I am humbled by their sheer determination. I salute the resilient human spirit which teaches that all challenges are meant to be surmounted. Christel House Lavasa has indeed given a meaning to my existence.