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Of awards & inspiring teachers

2016-09-12         Shukla Bose

In the month of July, we got to know that Parikrma had been nominated for the CNBC Digitizing India Award 2016 in the category of Digital Innovations driving Social Impact. This award was a collaboration of CNBC and Cisco and aimed at recognizing and celebrating the digital transformational journey of entities across corporate India and government institutions. It was amazing to be recognized at the national platform. Because our numbers are few as compared to the millions of beneficiaries that many other entities serve, we never thought that we would be at all eligible for such an honour. Parikrma was conceptualized with a focus on quality and on “how well” a job is done and not on “how many”. So, keeping that in mind to have grown to 4 schools, a Junior College and a Teacher Training Centre serving about 1700 children and nearly 20,000 in the communities, seems to us a large number to manage although it may pale as compared to the needs in our country. We have never tried to compete with other NGOs that are doing an amazing job serving millions of children every day. In fact, I have great good will, respect and tons of admiration for such NGOs. But we are different and that is our strength.So, when I got the mail from the Managing Editor of CNBC inviting us to go to Delhi to receive the award on the 15th July, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I was in a bit of shock, to be honest. I was also very touched when the organisers invited two of our students to travel to Delhi as well. In a business forum like this no one is that thoughtful. So I decided to take Amruteshwar from our Nandini Layout School who scored 97% in his Board exam and Pavithra from our Sahakaranagar School who scored more than 94%. It was just perfect, one girl and a boy. And it was the best incentive we could ever think of giving our high achievers. But Parikrma’s celebration is never complete if we do not acknowledge the key architects of our success, our teachers. So I decided to push our luck and take along Kalpana Singh who has been the longest serving, highly motivated, supremely committed teacher for the last 13 years. She is today the Head of Academic Administration and knows the names of all our children from nearly 72 slums and 4 orphanages and every student that has graduated from Parikrma in the last six years and which college they are studying in and where they are working. This event was held at the Taj Palace and the first such experience for our two kids. Amruteshwar’s mother is a sweeper in the Corporation and Pavithra’s father is an office peon. For both of them every single moment starting from the flight, plush hotel, grand buffet and meeting all the VIPs was an event that will always be etched in their memories and shape the days to come. Thank you Cisco and CNBC.But it does not end there. Kalpana and I decided to take them sightseeing in Delhi the next day. They saw the Red Fort, the Qutub Minar, the Parliament and Rastrapathi Bhavan. It was such a wondrous experience for me to view these sights through the eyes of children. I took a pause and thought to myself about how blessed I was to get this award because of the hard work of so many Parikrma members back home, to see the old sights of Delhi through the unblinking eyes of children and share it with someone like Kalpana who I have always counted on. The award was for digital innovations in education that will change the trend of learning, in a historic city like Delhi and poised to be taken forward by future generations of children that will come out of Parikrma who will redefine the meaning of equality, success and responsibility.Parikrma has really made hope work.

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