[I work with Sauhard, an NGO that runs an education center in Sherisa, a small village about 30 kms from Ahmedabad. The centre works with students who have dropped out of school, to ensure that they get the life skills they deserve, along with a chance to appear for their board exams through NIOS. The centre is a remarkable place to see how far the will for acquiring education can take you.To know more about how you might be able to help, or contribute to this project, feel free to contact me!
This write-up came about as a result of a special visit to Sherisa. We took a group of our students from Ahmedabad to conduct a social mapping exercise, and open dialogues with the residents of the village to understand their life better. It was during this dialogue that the idea of the write-up emerged, from a chance interaction with a child in the village. He had a burn on his foot, which had festered into a boil. I spent about half an hour speaking with his family, and throughout that time, he wailed about how he was in pain and did not want to go to school. When we sat down to speak about our day, those screams about the pain and not wanting to go to school stayed in my head, and this piece resulted from the same interaction, from the idea that schools and education are scant, but pain isn’t.]
It has a boil on its feet, the development in Sherisa.
It wept for an hour, not wanting to go to school, because it has a boil on its feet.
Fitting, that it burst, the boil.
The feet hurt now, they need to be carried.
It has an open lake full of our trash.
Of everything we do not need.
Of every letter we did not read, and of every word we could have written but did not write.
It has a lake full of garbage we did not care to throw.
It has a house which is a compound wall, a house which is the safety and isolation of my people.
Development in Sherisa is development of communities by themselves.
Of ‘our people’ and ‘them’.
Development in Sherisa has concrete toilets for the rich and sand for the poor.
It has a pile of dung- human and otherwise.
Development in Sherisa is Farzana’s smile as she looks me in the eyes when she asks her questions,
But development in Sherisa has a boil on its feet.
Development in Sherisa has stunted feet that long to jump, but they have been burnt by your response.
They smile, will you smile with them?
Development in Sherisa has a boil on its feet, it doesn’t want to go to school today
So it cried for an hour.
It will learn though, I hope, and its feet will heal.
The boil will burst, and it will heal, the feet will fly.
They will lead to newer steps, newer letters, and newer words.
Its feet will ask you new questions, and if these questions still your feet in discomfort, don’t worry.
At least, they aren’t burnt with a boil.
Walk. Run. Learn. Walk.
(Fellowship & Theatre Co-ordinator and in-house Screen-writer at Sauhard)