By POOJA AIER
Save the date!
Saturday, June 8th is Westlake JSA’s Walk-a-thon in support of Vidya Vanam, a school for misfortunate children in Tamil Nadu, India. Come to the Westlake High School track from 1-4pm and walk in support of this respectable cause. Westlake’s Walk-a-thon is student-initiated and will serve as a non-profit event to better those affiliated with Vidya Vanam. Donations to Vidya Vanam are encouraged and can be made at the Walk-a-thon.
Vidya Vanam, established in 2009 as an education initiative, is an elementary school for children from tribal and underprivileged families living in rural India. The parents of these children are either illiterate or have had no formal education, and hence the sons and daughters represent first-time learners. It is our endeavour to help these children grow into literate, self-confident, motivated and emotionally stable human beings. Vidya Vanam provides children with the tools for self learning while simultaneously recognizing the rich cultural traditions of the villages. It strives to impart the elements of education that respect and nurture this cultural identity and instill in the children pride and respect for their roots, environment and culture.
The day for the bus drivers begins at 7.00am, and they drive for about 25 – 30 kilometers, which is about 16 – 20 miles one way in the morning and evening to pick up and drop off the children. Because of the smaller size of the van several trips are required to get all the children daily.
The children are divided into Kindergarten, Elementary, and Middle School groups, each consisting of approximately 90 students.
Lunch is provided to the children each day; kindergarten kids take a nap in the afternoon; the students are also provided uniforms, which they wear three days in a week. There are a number of activities that occupy the children in the afternoon, which are both academic and extracurricular. These include, dance, drumming, games, art, craft and music.
The school communicates with parents regularly through a student diary. Many of the parents who cannot read or write get the help of people in the village to help them. At the end of the term the parents are given a written report. Since many of the parents are not literate, the teachers read out the report to them.
JSA is a nation-wide organization that supports the education and practice of debate, public speaking, and leadership skills. One of JSA’s main principles is encouraging students to have a voice and made a difference, which is extremely present in Westlake’s chapter. The club’s students act enthusiastically to voice their opinions on just changes that should be made throughout the world and are initiating the support that this Walk-a-thon needs. Join the effort to make a difference and show your support at Westlake’s Walk-a-thon for Vidya Vanam by walking and donating to this worthy cause.
For more information about Vidya Vanam, please visit: http://www.vidyavanam.org/