For the latest issue of Vicarious Volunteering, I’m thrilled to feature this documentary and interview from Tender Heart Educational Society in Faridabad, India.
Continue for an interview with Renu Bali, founder of Tender Heart Educational Society. (The audio of the interview is coming soon! The transcript is below.)
Can you tell us the history of Tender Heart?
Twenty-four years back, while I was a lecturer in Delhi University, I moved to a small town named Faridabad. I was astonished by the people there and their lack of awareness toward education in their lives. I felt that I was required more by them than as a lecturer in Delhi University. Ignorance of the people toward education and it’s significance in their lives inspired me to start Tender Heart.
What inspired you to start this organization?
I started teaching neighborhood children, including the children of house maids in my two room apartment, which would be a school in the morning and my home in the evening. By teaching them I realized that poor children could not cope with their studies. I had to teach them separately with a different method. Slowly they started excelling, thereby proving, that given an enriched environment, every child can do well. So that inspired me to go to the village that had the lowest literacy rate, and start this organization.
Why do you think education is important in a society overcome by poverty?
Well education to me seems to be the root cause of poverty. An uneducated person not only is ignorant of how to earn a good livelihood, but also he does not know how to live a healthy life and face all the situations wisely. Poverty makes a person more susceptible to superstitions, depression, and exploitations. It is only education which will bring them out of the clutched of social evils.
What are your future ideas for Tender Heart, in terms of growth and development?
Well Tender Heart is a holistic concept of an inclusive educational program, which includes teaching the poor village children, the children with special needs and empowering the school dropout girls and rural women in terms of vocational skills. Each program is interrelated with one another and each program benefits from the other. I feel Tender Heart will produce a group of good educated children who in turn will be able to reach out to more villages and create more Tender Hearts all across the country.
Tender Heart supports some of the best skilled women who are able to earn a good livelihood for themselves thereby encouraging other school dropout women to come forward, learn the skills and empower themselves. For it’s further growth and development, Tender Heart is producing handmade products such as scarves, jewelry, chalk, candles, cards calendars etc, for selling in the market. We are hoping to raise some more funds to aid in producing more Tender Hearts all across the country.
Thanks to Lena and Tiago, a few of Giving Vicarously’s biggest fans for their support, and for sharing their interview and documentary about such a great cause!