Mr. Hubert teaching music at APSA school for underprivileged kids in Bangalore

This Teacher’s Day, we spoke to five people who are giving a new meaning to education. Instead of pursuing a conventional occupation, they are volunteering at an NGO where underprivileged children are sheltered. Through their simple efforts, they are bringing these children from scarred pasts to promising futures. Read on to know how teaching has changed the lives of not only those sitting behind desks, but also those who stand before them scribbling on the blackboard.

Trupti Godbole

Has been teaching a nursery class for the last few months at an NGO Former pre-school teacher.

I remember one of my teachers, who showed us that we all have very rigid “beliefs”. We believe we are not good enough. We believe teaching these kids is tough. We believe these kids cannot learn. I have since learnt that we have to challenge our beliefs.
It’s not about teaching what I know. It’s about teaching what they ought to know.
I have also realised that we take too many things for granted. For instance, at any other school, while teaching alphabets, I might say ‘C’ for ‘Cheese’. But it’s possible that these kids don’t even know what cheese means.
Instead of just staying at my house as a homemaker, I now have a new home to come to.

Kotagiri Sarita

Teaching Science, Indian culture & heritage at the children’s shelter for about 10 years now.
Also works as Assistant Professor in a Pharmacy college.

I remember one of the kids I taught. His mother was a housemaid. When he was first brought down here, he was rather uninterested and in fact, quite naughty. Soon he took to studies and passed out with 65% marks. After some years, he even brought his younger brother and sister and keenly followed up with their studies.
Today he is working with a multinational firm, and is saving up for another course that will cost him around 3 lakh rupees.
This job was initially just a “timepass” for me. But now it’s a full-time commitment.

Carla Kentouche

Graduating from a German art school, Carla is on a one-year placement at an NGO in Bangalore.
Teaches English and music to the Nursery and 7th grade students.

Back in school, one of my teachers showed us that you can’t force children to be silent. He knew that it wasn’t helpful to shout. Through him, I’ve learnt that if I’m calm, the kids will just follow my lead.
I believe that music is the one of the best ways to teach and reach out to these children. If they can learn how to sing, dance and enjoy music; and if there is someone who cares and shows affection to them, there are so many possibilities for them.

Sheela Ramesh

Teaching at an NGO for the last seven years.
Teaches English, Maths and Indian culture and heritage to 10th grade students

I have learnt that teaching is about developing the kids, rather than just imparting knowledge. We develop their confidence and try to bring them out of their fears. For us, it’s about connecting, bonding, and building trust among the kids. When you show them affection, they talk back with affection.
We teach them to go out and face the world, to tackle problems in their life.

Lopamudra Naresh

Teaching Maths and English to the 10th grade students at an NGO for the last three years.
Formerly teaching Business Management at Delhi Public School.


I have seen how a single gold star sticker on their book can mean so much to these kids. Just a little bit of love and affection can bring so much change in them.
Some of my students are not afraid of Maths any more – and that’s a big achievement for me. Before they used to be so scared of numbers.
Today these kids mean a lot to me. They are like my kids, beyond my own two kids. If they don’t do well, I feel responsible. I feel I didn’t inspire them enough.
It’s my job to put them in a place where they can move ahead in life.

What is the true meaning of a teacher?

Today, more often than not, schools have become commercial. Many high-profile schools have been in the news for overcharging the school fees, or for mistreating the children.
However, these teachers are not in it for themselves. They work with children for whom a good education was a far-fetched dream. By teaching here, they have raised important questions: don’t these children deserve a proper education? Isn’t there anything we can do to help them?
And now we leave you with a question: Do such teachers make us rethink what education means?

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*The above pictures are from APSA NGO, where volunteer teachers are working to rehabilitate underprivileged kids.

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