Three years ago, I joined an organization which worked towards the education of the underprivileged children residing in slums, orphanages and MCD schools, who did not have resources and couldn’t afford the basic necessities of life. I was in my second year of graduation when I joined this student run initiative and was made a part of the slum department. My simple work was to visit slums on weekends and teach children there. Shortly after getting involved in the task, I loved being there, teaching the little ones. I enjoyed volunteering for the initiative and after a couple of months I started visiting orphanages, too, on a regular basis. I was very much involved in the organization and soon I was made the vice-president of slum department, where I served till April 2015.
I couldn’t have been away from the children anymore despite of leaving my previous organization. May 2015 was the turning point in my life when I thought to start my own organization. A non-profit organization which would work towards the education and development of the underprivileged children from the slums. On May 31st, 2015, I, along with a few fellow mates held our first teaching session at the Indraprastha slum in Delhi. And that was the beginning of Let’s Educate Children In Need or just LECIN as we call it.
The prime motive of LECIN is to provide quality elementary education to those unfortunate children residing in slums or are from other remote parts of the city, who do not have basic resources and amenities of life. The organization provides a platform to the children to bring out the best in them, express themselves, showcase their talents and learn to face the world confidently. Since its inception two years ago, LECIN has spread its roots to four major slums across Delhi- Indraprastha, Okhla, Kalkaji and Mansarovar Park. Volunteers in LECIN, mostly from various colleges of Delhi University, form a great team who work solemnly, visiting all the four slums of Delhi every weekend to bring a change in the society teaching the young ones. Today, more than sixty registered children are being taught by the volunteers, in all the slums combined.
Among the several activities and events that we organize for the children include Naitikta, Kalakriti and Alfazon ki Julagbandi. Naitikta refers to the teaching sessions where children are taught the values of life, the moral and fundamental rights, ethics, etiquettes, hygiene, better lifestyle and how they present themselves before the world in a better way. Kalakriti sessions bring out the best from the children by enhancing their skills and talents, usually through art and craft, story telling, essay writing and movie screening. Recently started, Alfazon ki Jugalbandi is the name given to a monthly the creative writing workshop, where children are made to think in a creative manner and write stories, articles and short write ups. This helps them expand their thinking and improve their observing abilities. Apart from these pursuits, we, at LECIN, celebrate almost all the festivals and special occasions with children in all the slums so that they could get to know about all the important days and events. This makes both the children and the volunteers happy.
A major turning point in our two years of journey came in October 2016 when LECIN was selected for the Changelooms Learning and Leadership Journey (CLLJ) 2016-17 under Pravah, another non-profit organization. Project Saksham was our own initiative which was started in December 2016. Coming from a computer background, I had always dreamt to extend my knowledge to these slum children who are deprived of technology. Hence, Saksham came into existence. We teach computers and other technical things to the children with a fixed curriculum and this makes them more curious towards something foreign to them. Seeing the project running successfully in Kalkaji slum is something next to dream coming true for me.
I am currently a full-time worker in LECIN which makes me satisfied and happy. We get to learn something new from the fellow volunteers or the children, each passing day, get to meet new people with amazing ideas and different interests. On one hand, where we have successfully started teaching sessions in four major slums of Delhi, organized a number of awareness campaigns, cultural events, fundraising events and donation campaigns, there have been a number of failures, issues, problems in the span of two years of LECIN. From convincing the parents of the children for sending them for the classes to finding a teaching center in each slum and further to organize big events like Unnati (our annual fest), nothing could have been possible without the support and hard work of the whole team of LECIN. The efforts made by each and every volunteer, coordinator or the core committee member to run the organization and work for the cause selflessly is what motivates me to keep the motive of my aim alive.
Nupur Bhardwaj Founder LECIN | Social Activist