The Telegraph
Monday , March 25 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Only stories in Sunday class

Mathematical theorems might not hook children to class. But a session of storytelling on a Sunday morning is undoubtedly tempting.

The Centre for Inner Resources Development (CIRD), which functions under the aegis of godman Swami Bhoomananda Tirtha, has taken the initiative to impart education to 50-odd underprivileged kids hailing from the slums fringing one of the richest neighbourhoods in the city — CH Area.

But the lessons, which began from March 17, are directed more at character development than grooming students into ambitious careerists.

The sessions, called Cultural Heritage Classes, aim to enrich young minds — from three to 13 — by exposing them to India’s rich history as well as imparting lessons in social behaviour, cleanliness and civic hygiene as well as yoga.

It is a form of alternative education for underprivileged children who often lose their “bachpan” — childhood innocence — in the course of their grim battle against poverty.

“We don’t wish to burden them with academic exercises. These sessions should make them feel cheerful and relaxed,” said Vijaylaxmi Das, a project resource person.

She added all the lessons would be imparted in the form of stories.

“Our Classes will focus on ccivic sense, personal hygiene and yoga,” Das said.

CIRD has chosen Sunday so that their schedule does not clash with the regular schooling of the children, who mostly go to government-run or charitable schools.

CIRD has also arranged for free meals.

“Madam log bohot acche se baat karti hai aur humein yahan aake khana bhi milta hai (Teachers here speak very nicely and we also get food ),” six-year-old Pinki Kumari said after attending the session on Sunday.

“The ability to express oneself goes a long way in determining the direction of our lives. We do not want these children to lag behind just because they belong to the underprivileged sections. We will encourage creative pursuits in them through engaging them in fun activities,” said Sukanya Das, another resource person involved in the venture.