by Ananya Radhakrishnan, Youth volunteer, St. Louis, MO
Around November, first graders in a private school in St. Louis, USA drew pictures of their everyday life and sent it to Olcott Memorial school children in India. By the time the letters reached Chennai, India, the ferocious Chennai floods had already wrecked considerable damage to Olcott. For three months, the school children were forced to stay at home thanks to the damage caused by the flood. All the supplies, books, papers, pencils kept at school were damaged and made receiving and responding to their international pen mails more poignant than it would be under normal circumstances.
Olcott Memorial High School provides free schooling for children in the area. Many of the children lived on coastal slums and the education that they received at the school was their escape road to alternative careers and opportunities. Given their precarious existence any natural calamity could easily make basic education an even greater privilege for them by having them face a new reality.
Yet still, when they returned to school, they enthusiastically drew pictures of home and school and their lives as they saw them in response to the first graders. These pictures depict their resilience and strength facing something many of us have never even dreamed about. These pictures are the ones that they drew and if you didn’t know who drew them, you’d never even see a trace of the struggles they had faced.
We at St. Louis Asha for Education, hope you enjoy them as much as the children did while forging their international connections…