Éclair is a street school chain being run by college students in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan and Delhi. Founded in April 2010 by a then Class 12 student - Jalnidh Kaur, in Ludhiana, Éclair today has branched out across the length and breadth of the country. The concept is to involve high school students and college students in imparting education to street kids in urban areas, thus channeling their free time and enthusiasm to the strata which needs it the most.
To éclair, all you need is a park, street kids and a bit of enthusiasm. You don’t need a room even!
Éclair currently has about 50 spirited young volunteers, mostly college students who teach poor kids in parks in the evenings. The curriculum is flexible and context based. We start with the alphabet, English or Hindi, according to what is thought as suitable for the kids, for them to get enrolled in nearby schools. Eventually, counting and basic science is taught through innovative teaching techniques.
Since most of us are students, we make sure that kids don’t get bored with what we teach and that repetition and drilling don’t make our classrooms dull. Teaching them to count the trees in the park or teaching them the names of colors through a fun filled game of Tip-i-tip-i-tap or having an interactive audio visual story telling session are all student innovations. More than elementary knowledge, these kids are imparted practical skills that they need the most in the kinds of circumstances they live. Activities like how to cross roads, knowing traffic lights, how to wash hands, how to brush are organized by our volunteers.
All our volunteers are students, so we have a variety of curriculum here, our BDS friends helped us in the tooth brushing activities while the Humanities friends introduced maps in our class – the kids loved identifying the little India on the big world map. And then, we have been teaching a bit about rights too. We have been faced with opposition from housewives in the locality. Our volunteers educated the kids (the elder ones 10-11 year olds) about their RIGHTS – right to education, how every child in 6-14 age group should attend school and not work in someone’s place as a domestic help.
The aim is to reform the outlook of the kids – so they know what is it to dream and aspire and also make efforts in getting them enrolled in regular schools. Éclair volunteers are doing a good job filling their eyes with hope and empowering their lives with quality education.