BENGALURU: Two social workers from the ‘Hand in Hand Charitable Trust’ educate and counsel children in the graveyard who are part of the gravediggers’ community in Kalpalli cemetery near Sarvagnanagar, Bengaluru.
They have successfully enrolled 41 children for the classes who are aged between 4 to 18 years. The syllabus used to teach them is not the typical math or science found in text books but more practical based teaching and applied concepts. They also learn sentence formation, word building, grammar and spelling. Samuel Gladson, co-founder of Hand in Hand said, “Our only resource is the graveyard so we also help children improve their vocabulary by asking them to identify alphabets on the tombstones.”
Among the students there are also a few with learning disabilities for whom the syllabus is specially designed and taught in a fun learning way. They also use sign language in the process of teaching. Apart from educating children they also have a women’s program where women are trained for simple creative tasks where they make candles, mats, earrings and earn a living out of it. 50% of the income goes for the raw materials and the remaining 50% goes to the community.
Mr. Samuel Gladson and Gleeda D’Silva also happen to be the alumni of St Joseph’s College (Autonomous). The two social workers quit their jobs to pursue this, they came forward to help the community of the gravediggers and also educate and counsel the children living there. It all began on February 3, 2016 where the two realized that there were so many children in the community lacking opportunities to grow and decided to help them. “This has been our passion, I also did my final year thesis on the life and working of gravediggers and the entire work was based on it” said Mr. Gladson.
They are currently looking for volunteers to join them which would also help them extend their support to other areas of the city. “We look forward to having volunteers as we aim at making this a district level project.” said Mr. Gladson