When Dreams Come True

When Dreams Come True

According to a Japanese proverb, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare”. But when vision meets action, then dreams become reality. One such dream-come-true story started fifty years ago in Thane, when a visionary woman decided to take upon her the mantle of setting up a school that will provide holistic education to its students. Vimalatai Karve, as we all know her, set up the Saraswati Vidya Mandir Trust’s Pre-primary, Primary and Secondary school in 1955.

The school began its golden jubilee celebrations early last year with the screening of the highly acclaimed Marathi film Shwaas and continued to organise many meaningful programmes throughout the year. Last week saw the culmination of the fifty-year celebrations with significant programmes organised by the pre-primary section of the school. On January 8, 2006, the school organised a fun fair for its little children, where stalls were put up by parents of the pre-primary students as well as ex-students of the pre-primary section, who now study in the school’s secondary section. These secondary section students were rather enterprising. One group put up a stall for Chinese Bhel after learning the technique from a restaurateur friend. As expected, their stuff was a major sell out. Another group offered Henna designs, where many little girls had their tiny hands decorated with beautiful patterns. The little children played numerous games, ate what wanted and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

On January 11, the school organised a blood donation camp in association with the Red Cross Society, which was inaugurated by B G Chitale, a trustee of the school. Rohini Rasal, principal of the pre-primary section said, “Vimalatai has never been in favour of collecting money in the form of charity or donation, which is often the case when such events are organised. So we decided that we will collect something that we can easily give back to the society. That’s why we decided to organise a blood donation camp.” The school urged students to request their parents and elders to participate in the camp in large numbers as it was organised on a public holiday. About 50 blood bags of 350 ml each were collected. The blood donation camp also served to create awareness among the little ones about what real “giving” means. Rasal praised Sameer Pethe, father of Senior KG student Kranti, for his excellent efforts in organising the blood donation camp. In fact according to Rasal, parents of pre-primary students are very enthusiastic and always contribute to the school’s activities in some or the other way.

On 12 January, an exhibition of learning aids was put up by the school with the help of the parents. Once again, most exhibits were created by parents. The learning aids focussed on Mathematics and Languages as the school believes that the earlier the basic concepts are taught, the better it is because these concepts are universal and are therefore helpful in understanding other subjects too.

On 14 January, a theme-based cultural programme called Sneha Sammellan was presented by the children. The theme was “relationships” and using songs and dance sequences, the children learnt about relationships that they share with their parents, siblings, teachers, friends, the environment, the country of their residence and so on. The theme carried on to the next day when teachers and parents participated. A group of teachers presented a dance sequence that had earlier won the first prize at the dance competition organised by Sanskruti Kala Darpan, a Mumbai-based organisation.

On this final day of the golden jubilee celebrations, the Chief Guest was none other than the much respected Vimalatai Karve, now all of 85 years. As expected, when she spoke, she offered pearls of wisdom. Addressing parents and teachers, she said, “Don’t worry too much about your children’s academic performance. What we all need to strive for is how to bring up our children to become good human beings and responsible citizens. Values are more important than mere scores in exams. Our country can progress only when children understand their responsibility and act in the best interest of the society.”

Vimalatai Karve’s dream school has come a long way since it was set up, but the basic principles of Karve remain intact. The school now has a gym for men and women, an activity room, a computer, a well-equipped sports ground and many more facilities for the overall development of its students – but it still strives for grooming its students to become self-reliant and wherever possible, encourages self-learning. On behalf of all her students, present and former, we salute the indomitable spirit of this woman who dared to make her dreams come true.

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