The greatest barrier in achievement boils down to two hurdles – opportunity and exposure. Children who have access to these two by virtue of being born in well-to-do homes receive all accolades. Have we ever wondered that given the same opportunities and exposure, can the marginalized reach the same heights?
At this point, I am again tempted to go back to the Inclusive Center for children that I have always been referring to in my posts. This is the story of Ram and Shyam(not their real names), the two boys of the neighborhood watchman, who came here in the evenings. They went to the Government School of the locality and were studying in the fifth and the sixth standard. They were good in studies and extra curricular activities and were eager and fast learners like most children are.
An American couple came visiting the place with two kids, Neil and Robert(again not their real names), about the same age as Ram and Shyam. They had come to India for a year and both of them were working in this Center and their kids went to a local school. In the evenings at this Center, they befriended Ram and Shyam. The kids became the best of pals over the year so much so that Ram and Shyam started conversing in English and Neil and Robert in Hindi! ( in the initial interactions, however, it was the power of non verbal communication that was responsible for developing the bond). They even spent days at each others houses. The year went by and soon it was time for Neil and Robert to return. While bidding goodbyes, phone numbers and email addresses were exchanged between them. One evening, when the internet was not working at my place, I went to a nearby cyber café. I saw Ram and Shyam there, sitting in front of the computer and merrily working away – they were having fun. It felt nice to see them. They were exchanging emails with Robert and Neil. When they were here, Ram and Shyam got the opportunity and the exposure to a computer and its uses and today they were at the same platform as the other kids their age(but not necessarily from the same strata of society….). Opportunity and exposure had made all the difference.