Allahabad, Aug 11 (ANI): Four years on, the life of 12 children from Kashmir has undergone a metamorphosis but for a good reason.
These bright and upcoming stars of St Johns Academy in Allahabad were small kids in 2005 when they either lost one or both of their parents due to militancy in Kashmir valley. Traumatised by the after-effects of losing their near and dear ones and fear of terrorism, they had lost all the hopes of having a normal life let alone a bright future.
Amidst despair and turmoil, they found a new home in Allahabad through the Indian Army's Sadbhavana programme. The programme in collaboration with the school arranged free education, hostel and food for these students.
But life was not so easy for these 12 children who had to face a different kind of challenge.or school staff, who embraced them with open hearts, it was difficult to communicate with them either as they did not know Kashmiri language.
"We had a great difficulty in understanding them in the beginning because we could not assess their loss, how much they were hurt and how much they had suffered. Neither we could understand them nor could they understand us because of the language problem. It was not easy for initial six months. We became a bit hopeless thinking whether we will be able to fulfill our commitment of educating these children. But today one feels really proud. They are doing very well in academics," said Shilpi Innes, Principal, St. Johns Academy.
However, the never-say-die spirit of pupils helped them to overcome all their difficulties in due time and be part of the new system in a new place. Today they not only speak in Kashmiri, but can speak in Hindi and English.
"My father was going to office in a car when he was killed in a terrorist attack.. Mother is still there. So I was sent here to be in a safer place. Since my father is not there, my family wants me to achieve something and bring honour to the family as well as the country," said Mohammed Faiz, a student of class VII.
Like Faiz all the other 11 pupils are performing well in studies and inculcating other skills such as music, instruments and sports under the guidance of teachers in the school.
The director of the school, C V Innes, said the students have helped to dispel the common myth about Kashmir.
"It has been beneficial both for Kashmiri students who got an opportunity to study. It has been also beneficial for our students to dispel the myth that everyone in Jammu and Kashmir is a terrorist," he added. (ANI)