Big screen has inspired many and education activist from Nashik, Sachin Usha Vilas Joshi is no different. Taking a cue from a caravan in Shah Rukh Khan starer Swades, Joshi started ‘Education on Wheels’ where he would teach children who have dropped out from schools. Little did he know that this noble cause of his will take him to France. Joshi has been invited to the World Forum for Democracy, which is organised by the European Council and European Parliament in Strasbourg, France from November 7 to 9. This year the theme of conference is education and Joshi will speak on Democracy and Equality – Does education matter?
The European Council has been organising this conference every year since the last eight years with a different theme relating to strengthening of democracy. This year the theme is education. The conference will see 121 speakers speak on various topics relating to the theme.
“I have been working with people in slums and I realised that there were many students who did not go to school or were drop outs. I felt that if these children become literate and educated they will have bright future. The van became an attraction to bring children closer to the concept of education,” said Joshi.
He started his journey on ‘Education on Wheels’ eight years back.
The van was designed with TV set, computer and he took it to the door step of the children. A library was also created in the van. “Once, I took out the van the children would curiously come towards the van. Once they would come to the van, we would groom them, we had to drill the fact in to them that education is the most important aspect of life. We opted for creative methods of teaching. Initially days we would just sing so that they do not feel burdened and come back every day with same enthusiasm. We also showed them some informative movies. We also discussed the importance of personal hygiene and cleanliness,” says Joshi.
To ensure that children implemented personal hygiene lessons in their lives, thirty-nine-year Joshi told the children that if they don’t take bath, they will not be allowed to enter the van. “This made a difference. Such small steps are necessary when we want to achieve a bigger goal,” said Joshi.
The Education on Wheels is a model which has reached numerous cities now. Sharing his experience of working with a community on the outskirts of Nashik, Joshi said that the people there believed that girls were never to be taken to the hospital or educated in a school. “The Education on Wheel van goes there regularly. It has not only motivated the girls, but, also helped change the attitude of parents. Six months later we have succeeded in having a classroom for girls where they are seeking education,” he says.
Sachin Joshi has a mobile application where in people inform about children who have dropped out of school. The team then finds out the child, counsels him/her, parents and provides opportunity by motivating the child to join school.