Grooming children to be responsible and independent citizens of tomorrow requires dedicated and passionate mentors. These can be teachers, caretakers and all the support staff that play a direct or indirect role in the lives of these children. It is not every day that these change-makers are appreciated and rewarded for their passionate efforts.
Shrimati Indirabai More, mother of our well-wisher and patron, Mr Kiriti More has been working as a dedicated teacher for 36 years for a Government school. We were thrilled when she donated her savings and earnings to Snehalaya and expressed her wish to felicitate two teachers every year. She requested these awards be given in the name of Shrimati Indirabai More and Shrimati Shobha Mahadeo Kulkarni, both of whom have been in the field of education and worked selflessly for their students.
It is an extremely difficult task to single out individual teachers when we truly appreciate all of the work of our team. However, we believe it is important to recognize excellence and those who go the extra mile. Therefore, on
15 August 2021, the awards were given to teachers who have been doing outstanding work over the past two years (Due to COVID we were unable to present the awards last year so this year we presented four awards), selected by an independent and unbiased committee. Congratulations to the winners:
1. Ambika Takalkar, a dedicated teacher and social worker from Aurangabad has been running a special school for autistic and dyslexic children for the last 15 years. Being a mother of a special needs child makes her naturally sensitive and understanding of the issues and challenges faced by such children and their parents. Ambika has been a mentor, guide and teacher for the children coming to the ‘Aarambh’ and giving them the confidence to face the world.
2. Jayashree Kalidas Rane has been working as a teacher with our slum project, Balbhavan, for the past six years. She trains and teaches children in our ‘Chandra’ (Moon) and ‘Prithvi’ (Earth) groups helping them to improve their academic grades. The children selected for these groups need special support and encouragement in the basics of reading and writing to progress to the next groups: ’Surya’ (Sun) and ‘Scholarship’. Usually, children in slums do not have equal opportunities to pursue education as they are forced into child labour or their families do not have enough finances to support their studies. Jayashree not only brings these children into mainstream education but she also works tirelessly with them and their families to participate and succeed in educational and extra-curricular activities. Jayashree’s hard work and passion have uplifted hundreds of children.
3. Subhash Kale, a teacher in a government school in Khandoba Vasti in Umapur, a small village in Maharashtra, has brought about a fundamental change in the way students receive their education. Besides teaching the students he introduced children to water conservation, tree plantations and other environmental initiatives. With the backing of his widowed mother (he lost his father when he was very young) and his equally dedicated wife, Subhash has become an example for many other teachers and his school has become so well known that it now has a long waiting list for admission.
4. Varsha More has been teaching primary children in our Snehalaya English Medium School for many years. She dedicates her time and energy to teaching children with special psychological as well as physical needs with complete patience. She thinks out of the box and follows innovative ways of teaching them. By encouraging them and helping them to cope with the curriculum and including extracurricular activities, she ensures that the children are engaged and keeping up with the syllabus.
Two other teachers who have played an important part in the educational development of Snehalaya students, Nirmala Kedari and Sangita Salve, were also felicitated for their selfless work in educating marginalized children in the schools where they now work.
Of course, no teacher can excel without the pupil’s participation. We are proud to announce that our two best SEMS students of the year for 2020-21 are Komal Vighe and Parshuram Tamang. They were chosen from an amazing bunch of pupils who have had an unprecedented level of challenges to face over the pandemic and lockdowns and have shown academic achievement, good behaviour and cleanliness but are also equally as good at participating in sports and extra-curricular activities.
While teachers support and guide our children through their education we are also extremely lucky to have an amazing team of caregivers who live and work with the children in our Rehab Center 24/7. Therefore, we also took the opportunity to introduce an award to acknowledge the selfless and dedicated work of our caregivers. An independent committee of six, including two child representatives, unanimously chose, Shyam Chavan from our boys’ section and Archana Kurne from our girls’ section.
15 August will continue to be a day of recognizing the services offered in the academic and social fields and setting an example to all our staff, children and supporters.