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Education is the most powerful weapon one can use to bring about a change in the society. Although the roots are bitter, the fruit is definitely sweet. But in a country like India which is ridden with poverty, a lot of children lose out on the opportunity to learn and thereby grow.
A 70-year-old retired engineer, J.D. Khurana, was deeply troubled to find many kids carrying out odd jobs at a time when they were supposed to be studying. Their underprivileged status hindered their possibilities and they were forced to forgo their one true chance to enhance their mind.
The Importance of Education
It all started with his driver’s son. Unfortunate circumstances hadn’t allowed the boy to grasp his true potential and Khurana, noticing that, undertook the responsibility of his education. He enrolled him in a private school and funded his education. The boy who knew nothing developed a massive interest in the field of science and before Khurana knew it, the boy was an established engineer working in a reputed organization. It was then that Khurana decided, he was going to help change the lives of underprivileged kids by providing them with the one thing they need the most and are denied outright – education!
Khurana’s dream school started with just 4 kids in the parking lot of his building. Fast forward three decades later and it is now a full-fledged school with over 400 children, all of whom are given the benefits of education, absolutely free of cost. Their initiative took form of a makeshift school called the ‘Nai Kiran Universal School’. It is makeshift because the classes are conducted in tents that they personally set up out in an open field at the beginning of each day.
Classes from pre-nursery to ninth are held and they follow the syllabus and curriculum of Delhi Public School. The school also provides free stationery, textbooks, and uniforms. In order to ensure a good nutritional upbringing, Khurana has also arranged for a mid-day meal scheme. The funding is all managed by Khurana himself and a couple of volunteers and well-wishers.
It has been six years since the school’s inception and for Khurana, it is the same routine. Every day, for him, begins at 5:30 AM, where he wakes up to clear the plot and prepare the teaching material for the day and ends at 10:00 PM where he finishes grocery shopping for the next day.
The one and only challenge the school faces currently is that there isn’t a roof above their heads. The makeshift tent business is temporary but Khurana is actively working to change that. People are welcome to donate if they deem it fit and together, he hopes to overcome this hurdle and provide for an authentic experience of education.
Catalyst for Change
Khurana, although retired is making a huge difference even now. The children who have studied under him have gone ahead to achieve what was once thought impossible. He was the catalyst they needed. He was the shining ray of light at the end of a dark tunnel that these underprivileged folk considered their life. It goes to say that you can truly bring about a change and Khurana’s understanding on the importance of education has helped him achieve something that brings true happiness – both in his life and in others!