Are you too old for education? This question pops up in the heads of the people in many Indian villages and specifically in the minds of women residing in rural areas. People deprived of education earlier, think that the age for education is limited, and they have probably crossed it. Well, now is the time to overcome all such narrow-mindedness and start educating people who have crossed their so-called 'age of education'.
In one of the villages of India, a very surprising yet praiseworthy initiative has been taken for the same.The village is known as Fangane located in Thane Maharashtra. Women here possess a different perception towards education.The village has an old age school which is educating the grannies of the village. This school is breaking the age barrier in the path of education.
It's a delight to watch all enthusiastic ladies in their 80s and 90s, wearing pink sarees and carrying bags on their shoulders, walking towards the school. Bravo to their efforts! Their never-ending zeal is no doubt an inspiration for many.
Can you guess where this pink saree clad 60-year-old Kanta More is off to with her backpack? The pink saree is the uniform of the school she's heading to, reciting the rhyme that she learned from her teacher, the other day. She can be seen walking off to the school every morning.
Kanta is a student of Ajibainchi Shala, a school in Fangane village, Thane, Maharashtra. The school aims at educating every uneducated senior woman there.
Kanta is not alone in the mission of getting educated at such an age. She has many mates with her. The school teaches 29 more students who are 60 to 90 years old. These grannies are all excited for what they are getting here.
Initially-hesitant, Kanta saw other women of her age join the school and decide to do the same. She says, "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."
Ramabai is the eldest student in the school, and she's 87. She can't hear well, but she knows she wants to study. She says she ignored the importance of literacy and education as a child, but it's never too late. Now she is ready to enlighten her mind and soul with education. She now feels more confident.
The grannies in this school begin their day in a traditional Indian way with morning prayer. Then these disciplined women take out their black slates and start learning Marathi. They learn how to read and write. And not only that. They learn basics of Mathematics, English alphabets, and nursery rhymes as well.
Ajibainchi Shala was the idea of 45 years old Yogendra Bangar. Mr. Bangar once saw that the senior women in the village were too illiterate to even recite the mythological epics on Shivaji Jayanti. He decided to educate these women.
Mr. Bangar realized his dream by launching the school last year on International Women's Day. The man travels 75 km every day to reach the school and educate these women. He takes it as his duty. He claims that the village has achieved 100 percent literacy with his school. Magic!
This education of elderly has changed the whole face of Fangan. People are aware of hygiene, and they all have built toilets at their homes. Ajibainchi Shala has done magic for the place, and we need more such institutes.