Sunday, September 4, 2011


“When life wants to bless you, it gives you a teacher”, this quote stands so true for a group of kids at a small school named AKSHAR in Chandigarh. In spite of lacking adequate means of attending a regular school, these kids are getting necessary basic education, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Vandana Aggarwal.

She has been managing the school, on her own, for more than one and a half year now, but according to her, she has just started. Rome might not have been built in a day, but the school definitely was! As Vandana tells her story, on one day she came up with the idea of starting the school and the very next day, there it was – complete with books, blackboard , a teacher and of course, the students. After a year and a half, there are three teachers who take classes for Nursery and KG in English, Hindi, Mathematics, Art and Moral Science.

Taking a break from regular studies, students are encouraged to take part in extracurricular activities and events. One such event included a talent show, where the students exhibited all sorts of skill by enacting a skit, reciting poems and singing songs. Each and every student participated to make the show a grand success.

All work and no play would make the kids dull, so the school arranges frequent trips for the kids to nearby places like Chhatbir, Sukhna Lake, Rock Garden, Pinjore Garden or any latest movie, giving them a fun-filled break from their routine. Since the children belong to the very poor backgrounds, and there are hardly any medical facilities available to them, the school organizes regular health check-ups for the kids in collaboration with the Fortis Hospital, Chandigarh. The staff visits the school once a month for general health, eye check up etc. It was one such routine checkup that helped save the life of one of the students, Robin, who otherwise might not have survived.

Adding yet another feather to its cap, the school hosted a meditation camp on 3rd September, where “Brahm Kumaris” from a nearby Ashram visited the school.

They talked about the importance of good manners and values in life and played a game to demonstrate the need of being focused in life. And now the school plans to make this a monthly feature.

Vandana has lots of dreams for the school and kids like incorporating a library and a “playroom”, starting vocational classes for young girls and lots more. Her endless energy and enthusiasm is highly contagious and inspiring. She sparkles with excitement every time she talks about her ideas. And why not, she knows she’ll be making a difference, a positive one, in someone’s life….

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fewer Asian women marrying - trend must be growing in India too?

This Economist article says China and India are not visibly affected by the trend of fewer women choosing to marry and have children in Asia. But I think it depends on which class you're looking at. It seems that a growing number of career-minded urban middle class women are single. Surprisingly it says there will be 60m (million?) more men than women in China and India by 2050!