Two Professors and Ten students have redefined the proverb ‘Charity begins at Home’ as Charity can begin anywhere. In a week, they have splendidly transformed the lives of the underprivileged village school children and orphanage kids. In our interview with Professors J.Athisayaraj Jebakumar and C. Sakthivel of PG Department of English (Un-Aided) Kongunadu Arts and Science College we came to know about the act of kindness that they had expressed during the past academic year.
When we first asked what motivates them to act voluntarily to do this such a feat of kindness, Professor. C. Sakthivel said “We all know that college education has become imperative for an aspiring student’s career today. While some educational institutions teach and drill them by the book and make them marketable products so that the students can have a heavier wallet in future, this college takes it as their commitment to make its students achieve success on all dimensions. We at Kongunadu feel that Education is also about reducing your nation’s heavy burdens. We want our students to be transcendental.”
We were intrigued by the air of optimism that surrounds these professors and we wanted to know more about their mission, so we further questioned Professor J.Athisayaraj Jebakumar who said to us that “One of the perennial missions of the PG Department of English (Un-Aided) is to take the lamp of education with helping hands to the underprivileged communities. With such thought in mind a humble initiative was taken by the Department and it was spearheaded by us. The plan was to visit select Government Schools and Orphanages, meet the students there, stay with them for a week and teach them with the aid of volunteering students from the department”.
This extension activity was aimed to make the learned teachers and students educate the needy. The duration of this humane act included a week’s stay (from 10.06.2018 to 16.06.2018) at Dieter Hueske Orphanage for Boys and Bergedorfer Orphanage for Girls to teach the inmates and also simultaneous plans were made to teach the students of Kuppannur, Vellarukanpalayam and Pullakaundanpudhur Govt. Schools as well. Proper authorization was sought from the AEEO & concerned Govt. officials and from the Heads of the selected Orphanages and Schools. The volunteering students were asked to get permission from their parents as well.
After getting the approval from the Head of the Department and the Institution and clearance from the required Government bodies, the project was green lit. Students both boys and girls numbering 10 were accompanied by the Professors. “Our College and the Management wholeheartedly encouraged us to do this project well and serve the poor with a smile that is what motivates us to do more programs like this. From the time our students reached the Orphanage till the closure of the project, we tasted success” said Professor C.Sakthivel with a pleasant smile.
He further said that the children at the orphanages and the students in schools took part in this project with tremendous enthusiasm and joy. The Professors’ approach to the village students was meticulous. We come to know this when Professor Athisayaraj says how they made their college students interact with the village students and orphanage children. “Our goal was to make those poor kids feel that they have big brothers and sisters to care for them. We wanted to make sure they enjoy learning and engage with us more during this one week stay. We wanted to make them smile and feel happy and we did see that. Seeing sheer joy in those tender faces was worth all the toils we took”.
This volunteer group didn’t just go there to teach and return. They literally had lent their hands to help the children sow pumpkin and brinjal seeds, fertilize the farmland and plant about 200 tomato saplings. They also collected about 1000 coconut leaf-stalks from the farm house and arranged them in the boys’ orphanage. This help by our students under the supervision of the Professors was highly appreciated by the villagers.
Prof. Athisayaraj and Prof. C. Sakthivel unanimously said that this sense of compassion towards community grew bigger day by day since the day they were students of Literature and also due to the inspiration from their teacher, colleague and mentor Dr.Diwakar Thomas, one of the senior most professors of the college. To their surprise their inspiration himself paid a visit to the venue of this project and contributed his skills and spirit to further strengthen this mission.
The Professors and all the ten students donated generously to provide Lunch and Dinner to the children. All the activities came to a happy ending on 16.06.2018. An enormous ovation was given to the professors and students by everyone at the Orphanages and the Schools with their management deeply expressing their gratitude to Dr.C.A.Vasuki, Secretary of our College, Dr. V. Balasubramaniam, Principal, Dr.V. Chinnusamy, CEO and to our PG Department of English (Un-Aided) for this laudable act of benevolence. Our endeavors became possible because of the benevolence of our beloved Secretary Dr. C.A.Vasuki madam.
As we wrapped up the interview we had one question for the professors about their future plans and to our surprise they said “We have plans to conduct Readathon-2018 – an inaugural book reading event cum celebration to our college students. There is a plan to make school children from villages to visit our college as they do in Field Trips. And also to Reach and Teach the Govt. school students on how to efficiently read their digitized curriculum (Ministry of Education’s QR Code based learning app – DIKSHA).We will return very soon with a bigger student base to a different place for the next phase”.