In this episode, Jairam Satish talks about the education system he experienced during his childhood.
Jairam starts by saying that childhood memories are preserved for a lifetime. “I had a very happy and memorable childhood.” He was born into a farmer’s family in the state of Tamil Nadu, in a small district named Hosur. He was the youngest of two brothers. “Both my brothers had to stop their studies. They were only able to learn till the V standard because of some problems, and moreover, they were not interested in their studies. But, I didn’t stop school and I liked studying. The education system during those days was good, but today, it has changed to a different level altogether!” Jairam reveals that when he was in school, an equal priority was placed on both sports and studies, and even though they didn’t have any computers and all such technologies, whatever they learnt they learnt it with great interest.
Jairam completed his primary education in his village. To complete his standard X and his secondary education, he moved to a nearby city and finally, to secure his college degree, he moved to Andhra Pradesh. “All of these were great experiences. I never faced any pressure from my parents, unlike what many children faced today. My father, even though he was a farmer, supported me in completing my studies. I even participated in various stage acts and also won awards for them.”
In the year 1999, Jairam moved to Bangalore, and a year later, he joined an NGO which works with children living with disabilities. “This NGO is located in Chikkabalapur and after joining, I started wholeheartedly participating in street plays, dramas, and song performances in order to bring awareness among people.” He mentions that when they perform plays centred around social issues, they have to do it only in Kannada because only then can they grab the attention of the local audiences.
During college, Jairam had wanted to become a journalist. “I wanted to do journalism because then I would be able to write down my points of view about society. But, I couldn’t do it because there was no one to provide me with proper guidance. The teachers used to tell us what was important only from the exam point of view. If there had been Internet and mobile phones then, the situation would have been very different”.
While admitting regrets of having missed out Jairam is also happy to see that today, the government itself is educating the kids and counseling them about the various courses that they can opt for, even though this does not exist in all schools. “I work for the ‘Child Right Trust’ in Chikkabalapur. As part of their work, they go to every rural school and college in that place and provide guidance to the kids who would love to fulfill their dreams.”
The CRT team also speaks about another social aspect with these children – ‘the wrong touch’. “This is a very sensitive matter even today. So, to educate people on this matter, we first started working with the school girls and then the college girls. After talking to the girls about these things, I was happy to see that most of them started opening up and sharing their experiences. Even today, if we go to the villages, sometimes there are girls who come up to us and tell us about their worries/problems.” Jairam mentions that before the team’s visit and the campaign, the abortion rate among the teenage girls there was very high. “We hardly hear of any such cases from the village now.”
Jairam says that the happiest moments for him are when the girls came to them and shared their worries. “I am happy that there is someone who listened to them.”
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