Pink Uniform Saree, Backpacks On, These Grannies Go To School

(Photo Credit: Press Trust Of India)
A pink saree as uniform and a backpack on her shoulder, 60-year-old Kanta More walks down to her school every morning reciting the nursery rhyme that she has learnt from her teacher. She studies at the Ajibainchi Shala, a school meant to educate the elderly women, in Thane’s Fangane village in Maharashtra. To give her company are 29 more students like her, who are aged between 60 and 90 years. Here are some glimpses from the ‘school of grannies’:

(Photo Credit: Press Trust Of India)

The grandmothers begin their day with a morning prayer. Black slates in hands, they practise writing Marathi alphabets and reciting them out aloud. They learn the fundamentals of mathematics, alphabets and nursery rhymes at the school.

(Photo Credit: Press Trust Of India)

The school, which began its journey last year on the International Women’s Day, is the brainchild of 45-year-old Yogendra Bangar. Mr Bangar, who travels 75 km every day from the city to the school, said he feels it is his duty to educate them. The idea came to him when he realised that elderly women in the village were illiterate and were unable to recite the mythological epics on Shivaji Jayanti. Mr Bangar claims that the initiative has helped the village achieve 100 per cent literacy. 

(Photo Credit: Press Trust Of India)

Ms Kanta said that she was initially hesitant, but after she saw other women of her age attending the school, she too joined. “Now I can read and write in my language. I have understood the importance of education. It gives you self-esteem. Earlier, I had to put my thumb impression on bank documents, but now I can sign them myself. I don’t need anyone else’s help,” she was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

(Photo Credit: Press Trust Of India)

Eighty-seven-year-old Ramabai is one of the oldest students of the school. Despite facing troubles with her hearing, she is determined to study. She said that she did not know the importance of going to the school as a child, but she can now read and write and feels really confident.

(Photo Credit: Press Trust Of India)

Education has also transformed the way the villagers look at hygiene and sanitation. The village has just become open defecation free, with each family having a toilet at home, said Mr Bangar. Another activity that engages the grandmothers is watering a sapling that’s planted in their names at the school compound. For learning, age is no bar, and these grandmothers have proved that.

(With Inputs From PTI)

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  3. Wow….. What a great initiative…. Articles like these are the reasons why news reading is still interesting and brings cheer and smile to our faces… Good Job Mr. Bangar. May you be blessed and get the support to expand this good work to educate more mothers.

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