Dreams being transformed into Reality
14 August 2013

Tanima aspires to be a police woman when she grows up
“We realized that if we could give them some assistance, these students could do wonders,” said the project director, Mr Mariadas, and went on to explain, “Due to lack of space, we have to accommodate all the students under one roof."
Dindigul, 8 August - The boy is hardly 3 feet tall but his name has 13 letters in it. He is just 5 years old, but can spell his name without a mistake. “He is one of the brightest students in our tuition class, “said Rosily, the teacher at the JRS Tuition Centre. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, this first grader promptly replied, “I want to be a doctor."

JRS   initiated tuition classes in 108 camps for Sri Lankan refugees in Tamil Nadu under the education programme. In each camp there is a community hall, where students from nursery to grade X assemble in the evenings for a few hours, for tuition classes and assistance in doing their home assignments, especially in Maths and English.  
“We realized that if we could give them some assistance, these students could do wonders,” said the project director, Mr Mariadas, and went on to explain, “Due to lack of space, we have to accommodate all the students under one roof." 
While there are 68 students in the Trichy Tuition Centre, the students maintain discipline and keep themselves busy with their work. The students are segregated class wise into groups, and each group is assisted by a teacher who also belongs to the camp. “We have chosen the teachers from the camps, so the children feel less hesitant to express themselves," explained Mr Mariadas.

At times there are noisy uproars and then sudden calmness at the appearance of one of their teachers, like at any other school. It does not seem like these children live in refugee camps in the midst of poverty and uncertainty.  Though born in India and most of them having grown up there, the youth still carry the stigma of being refugees. Their future is uncertain; that fear however, has not robbed them of their childhood or their ambition for a better future. 

“I want to be a police woman when I grow up,” said Tanima, a student of grade III, “and will catch all the bad guys.” Tanima lives with her parents and two brothers in a camp. She is a regular student in the tuition centre and has shown marked improvement ever since she joined the tuition class.
 “I love coming here every day; I love this place!” added Tanima. The environment at the tuition centre is child-friendly. The walls are decorated with pictures and drawings, while toys and games are made available, so the children can enjoy their playtime.  But above all, at the tuition centre, the children easily relate to each other regardless of age, which they find difficult in the school.  

“I am from Sri Lanka,” said Bosco, a 15 year old boy studying in grade IX. Born and nurtured in the precincts of the camp, these children do not feel secure outside the camp boundaries. This is because they often encounter prejudice and indifference from their classmates in school. 
“It is uncertain how many of these children will realize their ambitions. But in the JRS Tuition Centre, they see their dreams being transformed into reality and their joy has no limits,” said Mariadas, with a deep sense of fulfilment. (Names have been changed to protect the person’s identity)  




Press Contact Information
Stan Fernandes SJ
southasia.director@jrs.net
+91 11 4310 4661; +91 11 4953 4106