US Professor visits Aaghaz-run centres
A professor at Thomas Jefferson High School, Strayer University in USA visited Aaghaz -run centres for an academic article on English usage among destitute children in India and was left impressed by our work.
Professor Barry Gabay who was accompanied by his wife, a school counsellor visited Lucknow Guidance and Counselling (LGCC), Lucknow Coaching Centre and some schools where Aaghaz is paying the fees of several poor Muslim children. Reproduced here is Mr Barry's observations about LGCC and the note he left behind for LGCC ADMINISTRATOR Mr Parvez:
It was such a pleasure to meet you today, to see the vital and encouraging work you do, and to spend time with the wonderful young people who are benefiting from the generosity of your spirit. Please extend our genuine thanks to all of your colleagues for taking time to meet with us today. We learned so much just from our few hours together. Per our conversation, I have included some initial observations below regarding the Guidance and Coaching Centre. Administration: We were welcomed to the centre as soon as we arrived. In fact, even before our arrival, the administrator took time to fetch us from our hotel and begin his explanation of the program. The chief administrator was informative and thorough in his explanations to our many questions. It was obvious from our first moments at the centre, just how committed the administrator is. Many people with his educational background would prefer to work exclusively in a university or research setting; however, the deep humanity felt by the administrator is clear to anyone spending time in his presence. His daily active involvement in the centre seems to be one of the reasons behind its success. Former student: Meeting and talking with this young man gave us the opportunity to witness the practical benefits of such a guidance and coaching program. Enthusiasm and success were exuded with every sentence. Meeting someone for whom the centre has made a real difference is more important, more informative than reading endless material about a program. This young man is an excellent representative of why the work of the Guidance and Coaching Centre is vital to many young people of India. Current students: Entering the classroom and meeting with these young men and women gave us the opportunity to see the hope, promise, and optimism inherent in NGO work. These people are truly a vision of the future. As we move further and further away from a world based on family connections and more based on hard work and merit, such students will begin advancing in society. We will all benefit from this change in the social make-up of our next generation of leaders. Seeing their hope and openness with strangers gave us a strong belief in the promise of the centre's vision. Setting & Atmosphere: This centre seems an island of promise for students who have been raised in poverty. The openness to multiple religions and mixed genders shows an actively democratic society in operation. Because of the students' backgrounds the emphasis upon academic remediation, the general atmosphere seems one of mutual respect and help. The students, as well as the administrator and instructors, are involved in mutual assistance. Parvez, thank you again for welcoming us today into your world. You are involved in such important work which we fully endorse. I hope to begin sharing some of my work here as soon as I return to the US. I will remain in touch as this research project evolves. I would like to return to Lucknow for further visits with your various programs.
Best wishes, Barry Gabay