At Lakshmi Devi Academy (LDA), KHEL’s school for underserved children in Dehradun, Uttarakhand, Teachers’ Day has a special significance – our teachers are so much more to our kids; they are the first line of defense in KHEL’s continuing struggle against poverty and lack of education. Without them, KHEL’s administrative staff wouldn’t know when a child or their family is having a particularly difficult time and need more than the usual amount of assistance. The teachers that have stayed with KHEL for many years have an extraordinary commitment to our mission and often go above and beyond the call of duty. In addition to their regular teaching duties, this year they have supported our kids through the death of a classmate, kept us informed on medical issues that could adversely affect some of our kids and they even cleaned two feet of mud and dirt out of the school building so that the kids could come back to a clean, safe environment. Beni, KHEL’s General Manager, sent this report:
‘For Teachers’ Day, our older students enjoy planning a program of dances and songs for their teachers. They do this on their own, with one or two of the teachers monitoring that the presentation is appropriate for all the kids, as sometimes older students aren’t aware that the younger ones shouldn’t be exposed to certain songs or music. This year, the kids were happy to share with us songs and dances from the Garhwal region of the mountains where many of our families come from. Of course, they also presented some of the popular movie dances and songs from Bollywood!
It’s customary to invite local guests to this event. This year we were pleased to welcome our MLA [Member of the Legislative Assembly], Umesh Sharma, and our City Counselor, Kamli Bhatt. Our former Principal, Manmati Subba, also joined us. Manju, our Headmistress, lit a lamp to begin the program. Our Art and Music teacher, Mukesh, welcomed the guests. I told the guests about some of the challenges we are facing at LDA including issues with the small bridge outside our gate which was badly damaged during the flooding. I also told them that for the past 3 years our minority students haven’t received any government scholarship. In addition, we have difficulties getting books for our children that conform to the Hindi Medium syllabus that the kids must learn. After sharing these difficulties with our guests who work with the government and are in a position to help us, I handed the program over to Rosina, our 8th class Master of Ceremonies. She did a superb job keeping all the kids organised!
After the program, Mr. Sharma gave gifts to the teachers and his best wishes to everyone. We then had a small party for the teachers and staff. Thanks to Ammaji, Stomy Didi and everyone who supports our teachers in the challenging work they do. We hope you enjoy the photos as much as we enjoyed the program!’