Yogesh was one of the first kids I’ve met in Khajuraho.
More than 1.5 years ago.
He is pretty smartish, always at the forefront.
Barefaced and clever – but in a nice way.
He speaks surprisingly good English.
Currently he is in class 10 in a small private school (Raja Vikram Singh School) in Khajuraho.
The school is better than the local government school (less students) but by no means comparable to our private schools.
I like the location.
It’s in the center of Khajuraho in an old temple/shrine.
Right across the street from the Western temples.
Being smart and speaking good English is a combination which is “dangerous” in Khajuraho. Khajuraho is a HUGE tourist attraction because of the old temples which are UNESCO World Heritage. So the kids are easily tempted rather “to catch a tourist” and make some money than to go to school. They “work” as tourist guides, show the foreigners around, recommend hotels and restaurants (where they get commission) … Yogesh is once in a while one of them …! This is very often an issue between the two of us – I am trying to convince him to go to school and to learn … But who can blame him when money is short at home and the perspective of getting a job after school isn’t bright. It’s a long way to go but I know that Yogesh can make it, if he wants to. And he knows it as well …
In Khajuraho he helped us to set up our “A Hole in the Wall Learning Stations”, he always organized kids for workshops and and and … When the learning stations were implemented we did this interview with him:
In preparation for our current ARDUINO workshop in Sohna I thought it might be a good idea to take Yogesh with me and let him become the link between us and the students by translating So I asked if he wants to do it and he said yes. Then I talked to his father and to the principal of his school and asked them if it would be O.K. to take him and 2 days later we were together on the night train from Khajuraho to Delhi. Before we left we made the deal that we will pay the last three years of his school fees – so now he can finish 10th grade without bothering how to pay for school.
We arrived at 5.30 am in the morning in India’s capital, it was the first time for Yogesh to be there. What a moment! We took an auto ricksha to Hauz Khas Village where we stayed for 1.5 days. Shortly after arrival he started to explore the old ruins in the village …
In the afternoon we went to see Vicky Roy‘s exhibit “Home.Street.Home” – a young Indian photographer who left home when he was 11 years old and who found his way … After that we went to the first indoor skatepark in Delhi: freemotionsk8 – with them we will most likely run our next we_school workshop: bring mobile skateboard ramps to rural areas and let girls practice skateboarding while we also educate them about sex trafficking and other girl issues. The evening we spent with friends from my hometown Heidelberg on their rooftop terrace in Defence Colony, New Delhi … Vicky Roy, the photographer, joined us and we had a lovely evening.
The next morning we received the laptops for our ARDUINO workshop, Yogesh organized a car to drive down to Sohna, we picked up Lenny in Gurgaon, bought dog food and arrived safe at Barbet Resort, our “home” during the workshop. Sandy was already there and Peter joined later in the evening. Yogesh was easy going – once in a while he called his father back home but all in all I have the feeling he is enjoying this trip.
Next day his “official work” started. He translated every single word we were saying into Hindi and made our ideas understandable for the students. In the beginning his translation were sometimes “freestyle” (from the little Hindi I know) – but slowly he understood how important it was to ask us if he didn’t understand our English version and only after he got the point to translate it into Hindi. It also took a little while to find the right rhythm – but now he translates sentence by sentence and is simply doing a great job! And the job is challenging – he has to concentrate for at least 4 hours a day and communicate with all kind of people on eye level. He was standing in front of the school assembly, he translated during another little workshop with 40 “hoteliers” in our resort (we’ve got an article on this in the 2 local newspapers), he stood in front of the principal and the teachers … Even outside the workshop he became a more than valuable “guide” in all kind of situations.
Yogesh – aka Mr. Cool with his new sun glasses – simply rocks;-)