Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Each afternoon around 3, I hear the sound of laughter and shuffling as the children of Maitrigram arrive for 2 hours of after school tutoring in math, English, and Hindi.  The giggles soon subside as their teachers  begin.  Rarely have I seen a classroom in the US as well behaved and ready to learn as these children, especially for 2 extra school hours!!

Continuing education is so important, especially to the children of the local slums.  Education brings progress and empowerment, something Maitri stresses in their mission and vision.  To encourage attendance, Maitri also offers 10 of its 20 deserving students a scholarship of Rs. 6000/- each annually so they don't drop out to work, hindering them from future educational opportunities.

The first time I went down to meet the kids, I tutored a little girl in English.  After writing out the alphabet I started to teach her the sound that each letter makes.  For instance, A- ah, B- buh, etc... She followed me pretty well but I wasn't sure if she was catching on to what I was teaching her.  I then decided to write out a word and sound it out, C-A-T.  She repeated after me but I still didn't think she understood what she was sounding.  I then pointed to the word and said, "meow" which she repeated.  Besides being the cutest thing EVER, I think I taught her that C-A-T spells meow.

Beyond the tutorial center for math, English and Hindi, Maitri also offers skills and vocational training to women and children in the surrounding slums of Ekta Vihar.  I had the opportunity to tour the building and meet 2 of the 25 students currently enrolled and taught by Mrs. Prabha and Mrs. Rabat.  The girls were so sweet and excited to show us what they were working on.  Both were elegant and intelligent young women whom I am sure, with the training they are receiving at Maitri, will be successful! 

The sign outside of the school

 Measuring and cutting material

This young lady asked me to teach her some English.  Turns out, she helped me improve my Hindi!

Students and students!  Such a great experience!  

 Maitri really is making a difference with Maitrigram.  Can't wait to go back!!

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