Slums constitute a large section of the Indian society even in today’s date. Thousands of people stay in seva bastis (slums) that are erected on a small piece of land. A family usually stays in a small hut. In such a small, congested set up, it becomes very difficult for students to study. Besides this, the students also find it difficult to cope with the noisy environment that is witnessed in the evening in any of the slums found in the country. Seva Bharathi initiated a unique activity called Abhyasika (study room) as a solution to such difficulties witnessed in seva bastis.
Abhyasika (Study room):
Abhyasika is a student-centered activity in which the study room facility is located near or in the seva basti. Places such as schools or community halls where no activity is carried out during late evening are selected for this activity. Provision is made for adequate light, drinking water and toilets. Students from the seva bastis are invited to the Abhyasika and study there from 6 pm to 8 pm. Here, they can study and complete their homework in a peaceful manner. In this respect, study rooms differ from tuition classes. No regular classroom type teaching is conducted at the Abhyasikas. The supervisors solve difficulties faced by the students. Students are seated according to their standards in schools. A supervisor or two ensure that the peace is maintained among the group under their care.
Attendance is recorded every day. If a student remains absent consecutively for 2-3 three days, our volunteer visits child’s home to enquire about the reasons for absence. Progress of the students is monitored periodically by obtaining progress reports of their respective schools. Prayers, patriotic songs etc. are chanted at the beginning and at the end of the day’s work.
Periodic meetings of parents /guardians are organized to make them aware about the progress of their children. Because of this, a discipline is also maintained in the smooth functioning of the centre as the students also have a feeling of seriousness about their studies.
Periodic medical check-up of children is conducted in order to keep their fitness record. Proper medical aid is given to physically weak students so that their resistance power increases and it becomes possible for them to concentrate better on their studies.
Annual social gathering is organized to discover the hidden talent among students. Such extra curricular activities definitely help in developing the personality of students which is beneficial for them in their social life. Besides this, various festivals are celebrated with enthusiasm such as Raksha Bandhan, Bharatmatha Pooja Divas, etc that creates awareness about the rich cultural and varied heritage of India among students.
Students from class VI to X have studied at these centers. Degree and PG students (boys and girls) offered their services as honorary volunteers. A number of behavioral changes in the students have been noticed e.g. punctuality, regular attendance, academic progress, etc. Parents/guardians have also developed a keen interest in the education of their wards.
This activity helps in generating a favorable background for starting several other social service activities. Over a period of time, the social atmosphere in the concerned seva basti (slum) has favorably improved which is a great achievement from the national point of view.