Amritsar Abohar Bathinda Fazilka
Amidst all the controversies about the burden of school-goers' bags and the practice of interviewing parents for the admissions of their children, a school in Sector 14, Hisar, is making waves for different reasons.
The Chetna School of Skills has devoted itself exclusively to the children of labourers. Established a year ago, the school now has 95 students on its rolls. The school's founder, Parveen Kumar, says initially he faced problems enrolling children for the school because the parents feared that their wards would be sold in other states on the pretext of taking them to school. However, after a year, he now gets requests to enrol children.
The school runs for only three hours a day from 10 am to 1 pm. The timings have been adjusted to allow the children to supplement their family income in the mornings and evenings. Parveen says most of the children either scrub floors in the morning or assist their parents in vending goods in the evenings.
Santosh, who is a son of a building labourer from Madhya Pradesh, used to work as a daily wage labourer. However, he has now joined the school and dreams of becoming a doctor. Of course, he supplements his family income by selling peanuts in the evening.
Likewise, Ramesh works as an errand boy at a tea stall. But he regularly comes to the school for three hours and wants to buy a 'kothi for his parents so that they can move out of their shanty.
The school charges no tuition fee. It is run out of funds collected from individuals and social organisations. The children are rarely given homework. Besides being imparted formal education, they are encouraged to take part in sports and co-curricular activities. In another few years, many of them will be appearing for their board examinations, Parveen adds.
Receiving expert advice from senior cardiac consultants will no longer remain a dream for the poor residents of Kila Raipur constituency as Dr J.S. Grewal, a cardiologist, has started an OPD free of cost at his native Gujjarwal village, near Ahmedgarh.
The gesture will help save many rural residents from going for expensive treatments and surgeries.
“Though I am not in a position to contribute huge amounts towards the treatment and surgeries required for the management of myocardial infraction and other allied ailments, I can at least devote time to educate the residents of my native area about the precautions to prevent heart disorders,” he says.
Claiming to have performed the first biventricular pacing operation in north India, Dr Grewal is of the opinion that the incidence of heart attacks can be brought down by modifying the food habits of Punjabis. “In fact, our prosperity has resulted in a higher incidence of heart attacks. Taking saturated fats with all the meals results in an increase in cholesterol levels and the consequent narrowing of vessels,” he informs.
Though the OPD is oraganised essentially for the residents of his home town, patients from the surrounding constituencies Payal, Malerkotla and Raekot have also started attending it. In recognition of his services, the residents of Kila Raipur constituency felicitated him at a function organised at Gujjarwal recently. Parkash Singh Badal, chief minister, presented him with a memento on behalf of the residents.