28 February, 2021

Look Yonder, The Lighthouse

A retired couple tries to give underprivileged children an opportunity to study and begin life afresh

Look Yonder, The Lighthouse
Most people detest a sedentary retired life. They actively scout for something to keep them occupied. Often, it’s a way to do their bit for society. Take Prof H.M. Kaul and his wife Vimla. After his retirement in ’94, they moved to Delhi and have since tried to better the lives of underprivileged kids. They initially began with a tailoring centre for girls in Madanpur Khadar, a village in southeast Delhi. Within a year, 40 girls had been trained to stitch and some even began earning a livelihood.

A year later, a village elder approached Vimla to do something for the children. Most of them were whiling away their time roaming the streets. Some went to school occasionally while others had dropped out altogether. Vimla started a class for four to eight-year-olds in February ’96 with ten children and hired a teacher—a village girl who had learnt tailoring under her. "Initially, we just tried to discipline them," recalls Prof Kaul.

Gradually, the children began to learn the English and Hindi alphabet and nursery rhymes. By May, a voluntary organisation offered to pay...

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