[Neha Pandey with her students in Sanjay Nagar slum in Okhla; Sunday, June 21, 2015 (Photo courtesy Neha Pandey)
[Neha Pandey (center) with her students at a local temple in Sanjay Nagar slum in Okhla; Sunday, June 21, 2015 (Photo courtesy Neha Pandey)]

Jamia Student Distributes Packets of Color to Children Living in Okhla Slum

Along with her friends, Neha Pandey (2016), a Jamia student of M.A. in Development Communications, AJK-MCRC, had ran a collection drive under the name “Rang De” on Jamia campus early this year in March with an aim to collect enough money to buy packets of coloring pens, pencils and sketch books, in order to bring a little bit of joy and color into the lives of children living in a slum in Okhla where she volunteers to teach.

Now that Neha is done with her exams for this academic session; on Sunday, June 21, at the Sanjay Nagar Colony slum located in Okhla, New Delhi, Neha in collaboration with a charity organization named, “Combined Action for Progress,” distributed packets of stationery filled with coloring pens, pencils and sketch books for about 50 of her students.

Now that her students are equipped with the necessary tools to express their creativity, Neha wants to give the children an occasion to showcase their talent; and with this goal in mind, Neha tells Jamia Journal that she will be organizing a drawing competition for the children on June 28 [Postscript: JJ has been informed that the competition has been postponed until further notice] on the premises of a local temple that she uses as a makeshift classroom to conduct her class.

Besides giving the children an opportunity to showcase their talent, the drawing competition is also to make a statement in order to send a message to the people who make government policies on education under the Right to Education Act. And the message is, Neha tells Jamia Journal: “Please include color packets in the commodity items provided to students aged 6 to 14 years under the Right to Education.”

In her endeavor, Neha has been supported and assisted by many of her friends and is grateful for their support. She acknowledges few by name: Hari Mahendra Pratap, Prashika, and Raza Quadir, who happens to run the NGO, Combined Action for Progress.


[Neha Pandey with her students in Sanjay Nagar slum in Okhla; Sunday, June 21, 2015 (Photo courtesy Neha Pandey)
[Neha Pandey with her students at a local temple in Sanjay Nagar slum in Okhla; Sunday, June 21, 2015 (Photo courtesy Neha Pandey)]
Readers unfamiliar with Neha’s story might not be able to fully appreciate the significance of what she has managed to achieve with her distribution of color packets. So for those among our readers who had did not happen to read our facebook post on Neha Pandey back in March, detailing how she came to work with the slum children of Okhla, we republish our facebook post below:

Jamia Student Appeals for Donations for a Good Cause

Rang De PoserMarch, 2015: A Jamia student by the name of Neha Pandey, wishes to make an appeal to students and faculty of Jamia to help her bring a smile on the faces of children living in a slum in Okhla by making a donation for her cause.

When we inquired why Neha was organizing this donation drive, we learned a very inspiring story behind it. A story which we would like to share with our readers here.

Apparently, students of Masters in Development Communication, AJK-MCRC, JMI are required to do a project in photography. Neha chose to do her project on slums in Okhla. So she went to a few of the slums in Okhla to photograph the life of the people there.

As she went about taking photographs in these slums, she got talking to people, and as a consequence, got to know them. She learned about their fears and dreams; their everyday challenges and aspirations in life. One of the most repeated aspiration she got to hear from people was their desire for their children to have a good education. Above all else, people in these slums wanted their children to have an education. Perhaps they saw education as a ticket out of a life of poverty and misery.

This apparently affected Neha so much that she decided to give some of her time to teach the kids in these slums. For the past few months (since November to be precise) Neha has taken the time out from her routine to go to a slum called Sanjay Nagar near the Okhla Metro Station and teach children there in some makeshift school on the roof of somebody’s house.

Talking about her teaching experience there, Neha writes: “When I teach there, I sense a lack of interest and a sense of apathy among the students there. There is no passion to become something. However, they do have a lot of enthusiasm to do something good in life.”

To change things up, Neha decided she needed to bring some color into the classroom. To do this, she decided to get color pencils, pen, paint, crayons and such for all the children there. Since she obviously can’t afford to buy all of this on her own for so many children, she decided to ask for help. And that is how the idea for this donation drive came into being.

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