“Dhritee & Dhitulee – All about Pearl” is a story book for children that captures an interesting interaction between a child and an insect leading to an enlightening discovery. “Well”, you might say, “it could be one of the thousands and thousands of children book all over the world.” Right, but “Dhritee and Dhitulee” is NOT just a children book as usual. It is the “touchable” outcome of a very interesting educational project with children in a home at Mangalore in India.
A real pearl: How education and fun can lead to make a huge difference in children’s life and also help the organisation itself
At the beginning there was just the idea: A woman volunteer with a professional IT background in Mangalore, a middle-sized town in the region of Karnataka, who wanted to engage and spend some time in a local orphans home. She, Gita, contacted Prajna Counselling Center, a social center that in the last years had taken care of children homes, a shelter for battered women and run a lot of other meaningful activities in the social area. Gita was very welcome and soon a part of the team. With a lot of personal engagement she started to set up a small computer room in one of the children homes – with some old computer she collected from local companies, and – unfortunately – rather old software, but this did not stop her. She wanted to train the children and to transfer IT knowledge to them, children who normally would never be able to get a real good access to one of the best areas where to make money – IT. And to set up a small startup in the home itself with girls who – once they leave school – can gain some money because they have professional skills and do not have to live on the streets or to get married immediately. It is an amazing idea.
She talked to the children and offered them to participate in some lessons in the afternoon in the home. She could get their emotional buy – in and enthusiasm very soon, not because of the IT knowledge itself, but because of a very concrete project. The idea was to help the children to prepare their own book – and with this aim in mind they started to learn how to use and write on a computer, how to work with photos and how to apply basic design knowledge or how to build websites and work with graphics.
I have visited her and Prajna Counselling a few weeks ago in Mangalore. When I ask Gita about the most important thoughts on her works, she replies: “It is important to start with what we have and not to wait that something like better computers and software will come ….but maybe never arrive. It is key that the children like what they do, feel really attracted and that their personal contribution is important. They should have a common idea on what they want to achieve together and also a bit of fun”.
Amazing, I think, this describes in a few and simple words how ideally modern leadership and motivation should be practiced today, even in big business.
Proudly, she shows me the computer room and a draft book. Gita is convinced that the book is much more than a book: “The learnings we have together will help the children also in the future, once they will leave the home. And it will help the home itself. It is difficult to find the money – often even the simplest items – we cannot afford them. The official support is too low to cover the basic needs. We miss school bags, undergarments, better food … so what can be done? If we are able to help ourselves, we can create much more sustainability – for all children as individuals and for the home as an institution.” Prajna is engaged in the challenging task of enabling these children develop these talent into viable career options to make them economically and financially independent and they need all the encouragement that they can get.
Well, now in June, the first book is ready and soon the first print outs will be available. Remarkably, all graphics have been conceptualized and designed by the under privileged children of Prajna Counselling Centre, under the guidance of the author of this book Ms. Gita. It is a significant achievement considering the fact that this was executed by them without having the benefit of formal education, basic computer skills and English language proficiency, all pre-requisites for a Graphic Designing assignment. The entire narration has been captured brilliantly through some very creative graphic illustrations.
Remains just to say: All the best to “Dhritee & Dhitulee – All about Pearl” and to Gita and the children at Prajna Counselling!
- It would be great if you could support this activity (be it by sharing this information with others, be it be supporting it financial -wise – better computers and software would be fantastic!!!)
- Additionally, the Prajna Counselling Center needs urgently school bags and undergarment, please have a look at: https://www.betterplace.org/en/projects/29693-urgent-children-of-an-orphans-home-in-mangalore-india-need-a-school-bag