You don't need a school for quality education...
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You don't need a school for quality education...

Pahal is a daily open-air school for underprivileged children run free of cost by a handful of women from in and around Indirapuram.

You don't need a school for quality education...

When Veer Singh, a tailor who sits near Gate No 2 of Gaur Green City in Indirapuram, realised that the government school his kids were going to was not good enough, he pulled them out.

Instead of looking for another government school he could afford, Singh enrolled both his children, Rahul and Madhu, to Pahal, a daily open-air school for underprivileged children run free of cost by a couple of women from in and around Indirapuram.

Pahal organises its late-afternoon classes at Tikona Park in Vaibhav Khand on weekdays. The faculty comprises Kiran Nirmal, JC Ravindran, Neelam Upadhyay, Sujata Ringe, Sushma Negi, Sishta Panda, Usha, Pratibha Mishra and Chitralekha Ghosh.

Although students refer to Pahal as tuition, the teachers involved insist that it is a school.


Kids getting ready for yet another fun class...                                                                 Photo: Abid Hussain Barlaskar 


It is quite a sight for a public park - a group of children with their school bags in tow.

Kiran Nirmal, a resident of Gaur Green City and one of the teachers, told City Spidey that Pahal had about 45 students from various age groups. "Pahal was born in July last year, when our maids approached us saying they wanted quality education for their children but couldn't afford it," said Nirmal. "The schools their kids went to were not good enough. We started out in this very park and soon after, after noticing us, more women offered to help with teaching."

Not only that, residents of Gaur Green City maintain a steady supply of stationery items for the children. Nirmal is not only them but also the members of Helping Others, a resident group of the society, for arranging a hall with the RWA's help to conduct classes during winters.

A laundryman from Bahrampur in Ghaziabad brings his children to Pahal's classes every day. "They accompany their father every day except on Thursdays, just to attend the classes," said Nirmal. "More and more parents from the economically weaker sections have been showing interest in Pahal. We even help them get some of their kids enrolled in government schools."

On asking which school they liked going to, the one they attend during the day or the one in the park, the kids respond in unison: "Park!"

Unlike their other school, children at Pahal are free to ask any question they have, without the fear of being admonished. The fact that they are thankful to their parents for admitting them here, is written all over their faces.

"The teachers are not here to make money," said Veer Singh, who is glad he shifted his kids to Pahal from their government school. "I can see my children learning a lot, and enjoying themselves at the same time. What else can one ask for?"

Pahal also stresses the importance of extra-curricular activities in a child's holistic development - there are awareness rallies, painting and crafts such as sewing and knitting. When City Spidey met them, they, along with their teachers, were preparing for a skit on the importance of cleanliness.

The teachers are currently planning to get their school registered.

What a way to give back to society!