8-yr-old helps tribal kids learn English
BANGALORE: "Uncle, if you've an old working computer, give it to me. I'll pass it on to the poor tribal children so that they can learn English." That's eight-year-old Karan Dravid speaking on his own, no cues, no prompts.
Unlike the children of his age who kid around with toys, Karan dons a thinking cap: "All children should know English. They shouldn't be begging or working in hotels, but should go to school." He enjoys mingling with tribal kids in BR Hills, teaching them English every weekend and during vacations.
Mumbai-based NGO, Indian Development Foundation, has roped in Karan as young ambassador to promote rural empowerment initiatives. He's a whizkid — knows six languages, including French, memorises shlokas and has an enviable language-learning skill. At the same time, the child in him is very much active: he plays and dances with peers at his school, Kendriya Vidyalaya, MEG Centre, and watches latest movies.
"We haven't taught him much, but only answered his queries," says his father Sai Prem Kumar, an engineer. "We found that Karan, at three, was inquisitive and had good memory. An answer to his query would be etched in his mind and he'd interpret in his own way."
"Once he wanted to know why some children didn't know English. I told him they were poor and hence couldn't go to school. Since then, he has taken it upon himself to do something for the poor," Kumar recalls. Without parents' knowledge, Kiran met his principal, talked his friends into mobilising a load of shoes and clothes for the children at BR Hills Empowerment School. "He had ensured his friends don't give too old or torn clothes," said Karan's mother Kalpana, who works in the excise department.
Does Kiran want to become a cricketer, a la his namesake? The boy shoots it down. "Want to be famous?" A big "no", again. "What do you want to become then?" Pat came the reply: "An IAS officer so that I can help the poor and make their children go to school."
Karan is also interacting with reputed schools to get the students work for the poor. His priority: "Want to request all uncles in big posts to give me old computers." Flawlessly reciting the Song of Youth , Karan says: "I know APJ Abdul Kalam's full name. I'd like to meet him. Do you have his email ID, uncle?"
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