Life after school:
The idea behind OMHS is to give a special place for the maginal children and their parents. And what a place it is, too. They swarm in from their humble homes with great eagerness and once in, the 9 acre space is all theirs. Mothers saunter in for a chat on their problems. When children have spent years here chirping, playing and relating, they have had a great childhood and youth; examinations become a secondary issue. "42% drop out after Class-10. But they are self-assured kids with a positive outlook. Of the 58% that go on to Class-12, 70% go further on to graduate courses."
Examination results bring on new tasks for Lakshmi. Children with a desire to study further are coming out of a no-cost economy into a world that calls for money at every step. Most parents are unprepared and it'd be a shame not to support promising ones. Luckily little-known philanthropists exist in Chennai. She has standing commitment for 26 scholarships. She is looking for more.
She is heartened with the many successes. Sujendran is fluent in English and studies for BCom in Chennai's prestigious Vivekananda College. Santhosh Mary is a trained Lab Technical Assistant. Raja completed technical studies on Merit Scholarships and is a supervisor for erecting large air-conditioning systems. Suresh is a trained printer, working in the Deccan Chronicle press. Subha is technically trained and works in a medical transcription centre. Radha is bright and fluent in English and is likely to enter medical studies. It may not be a long list but pretty satisfying.
Lakshmi is a dynamo of energy and ideas. "My teachers may be of humble stock but I run a continual training programme that ratchets them up. Once they are motivated, rest follows," she says. Here you see a huddle of teachers discussing time-tables and course materials. There under a tree sits a math teacher, with a young ward in a one-on-one session. Now Lakshmi stops to find out why 6 year old Kaavya is on the edge of guilt and tears: she has pushed a pea into her nostril and must go see the school doctor now. Nearby, teenage girls are into an energetic Kabbadi game. On an another plane, the school won the Intel-Best Integration of Technology into Classroom Award 2002 with a prize money of Rs.100,000. OMHS was only one of three winners from 900 applicants
It's a rare piece of India out there. Pity there are not enough of them. But why? Close to 50% of Indians are truly wealthy in the sense they have more than enough for their family's secure future. If a school like this is replicated their wealth would be more secure and India a better place. The convese, alas is true as well.
The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Chennai-60020
Contributions to OMHS can be drawn to favour Olcott Education Society and mailed with a note that it be used for the school. You can also email calling attention of Miss Keshwar Dastur, Treasurer
The Principal can be contacted if you wish to sponsor scholarships or special activities. Her mail-ID. You can call her over 0-9841091424