One good day, in the late-nineties, Meena wondered what she was doing with her education. Her post graduation in MA Psychology was not just a degree, but a dream she had nourished so well. But now, settled in life, with a loving husband and two little kids, she thought, if it was the kind of life she had always wanted? The best and the easiest way to bring her education to immediate effect was to begin imparting her knowledge to others. Soon, Meena transformed to Mrs. Meena Singh started her journey as a teacher in an ICSE School in Patna, Bihar.
As it was time to enroll her own kids to school, she observed the competition in store for kids seeking admission in Missionary Schools (supposedly best for English Education) and the difficult exams that the young ones were screened through. Soon, our enthusiastic teacher started her own Coaching Classes for kids preparing for entrance examinations in Convent Schools. Gradually, she was elated to see how many kids were happily placed in good schools due to her little effort. “During those times, there was a rat-race for convents and it was challenging for parents to settle their kids in good schools.” To all such parents, Mrs. Singh was a savior. This certainly instilled confidence in our Homemaker turned School Teacher. She then materialized her dream and the spirit to go ahead, by taking the risk of leaving her well paid job in order to become an entrepreneur and create jobs for others. This was the inception of Kids’ Land Prep N Play School. A school that started with 3 students in 2005, has till date transformed the lives of more than 500 students. In an era where education has been bartered with money, making schools a ‘business’ of the capitalists, this institution has tried to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor. Mrs. Singh believes that every child, be it rich or poor, or even the differently-abled has the right to education. Therefore, the school welcomes kids suffering from deafness, cochlear implants, and other handicapped problems with open arms.
These are mostly the kids who are refused admissions in other branded and franchise schools on the grounds of not being in line with the other ‘normal’ kids.
Building up a School is no cakewalk and Mrs. Singh was all prepared for the forthcoming challenges. She wanted a team of teachers who understand her ideology and value education as much as she does. So, rather than following the common way of employing teachers as other schools do, she actually kept an eye out for educated mothers of her students, who were hesitant in coming out and standing up for themselves. She observed and approached women like herself, who were educated, had the potential, but could not make a formal career for themselves. Having received the invitation from Mrs. Singh, these women could not refuse such an opportunity to make use of the education they had invested so much in. So, going with her experience, Mrs. Singh transformed the lives of other educated Homemakers and gave them a career and dignity in the society. She tells us “Initially, some of the families were reluctant in accepting our proposal, but then they did, anticipating it to be a short term
venture which was doomed to fail. But who knows, our fortune will give them answers. Soon, when these teachers used to go out with their husbands and the kids on the street greeted them ‘Good Morning Ma’am’ or ‘Good Afternoon Ma’am’, the same families took it as a credit and our teachers felt even more dignified.” (And she laughs out loud feeling proud.)
Anju Singh, one of the oldest teachers of the school, says that becoming a teacher has not only earned her respect outside, but also within the family. She proudly says that the biggest jewel she has received after working as a teacher in this school is her confidence. Shalini Sahay, another teacher founded by Mrs. Singh, tells us that her husband was always very supportive, but the kind of push Mrs. Singh gave her has been life changing for her. “Meena ji is always full of optimism and encouragement. We have a warm set-up, where we love to teach and the kids also get a homely environment where they can be nurtured even better.” Mrs. Singh personally gives training to these teachers who then provide a perfect homely environment with quality education to the kids. An attractive feature of this school is the school’s policy of admitting not more than 50 students a year which eliminates the chances of classrooms flooded with children.This enables teachers as well as students to bloom in an extremely interactive environment and develop a personal relationship with each other. The school has kept its fees minimum and tries to give maximum facilities out of the limited resources. Not only this, the kids ranging from 2.5 – 6 years are also given dance classes by professional teachers which has helped them to put up one of the best performances on stage this year during their Annual function. Mrs. Meena Singh has been a real initiator of change. She has not only transformed her own life, but of her students and her fellow teachers as well. She has proved that by holding hands, we can realize the unimaginable.