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“Average is good enough”, a statement deeply embedded in the psyche of educated individuals who meet and interact with low-income children, has resulted in becoming a way of life and doing for under-privileged children in India. Volunteers and donors who visited my class regularly would be taken aback when my children would share their insights on gender equality in our country. Their reaction would make me wonder and ask myself if these very individuals would be in awe if 11 year olds from high income communities engaged in similar debates and discussions. The answer to the question above was more often than not a no. Soon I realized that we have inherently accepted this social difference and have innately lowered the bar for what we believe low-income children can achieve. As a teacher, I often saw my children and their families believing that they were worth less and weren’t capable of achieving anything more than what society expected of them. When Mehenoor told me that her vision for herself was to become a house help, I was heart-broken and at the same time fuelled with anger thinking about the impact stereotypes and limiting mindsets can have on the ambitions and life of generation after generation.

As my children and I attempt to achieve this mammoth task of changing stereotypes, being well aware of the challenges, we keep the quote by Nelson Mandela as the guiding force. “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world”.

About Me

I am a teacher at Abhyudaya Nagar Mumbai Public School, a school in The Akanksha Foundation's network of schools. I firmly believe that poverty should not hold children back and determine their success in the future. Everyday I walk into my classroom holding high expectations of my children and myself with the hope that one day they will break barriers and outperform societal constructs.

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