Children waiting at the school

Lined up for notebook distribution

Distributing notebooks

Inside a Year 10 classroom

Surrounded by school children

Schools out!

The commute home

HD Kote, India

Corporate Social Responsibility

June 29, 2013


Reach for the golden ring

Reach for the sky

Baby just spread your wings

- Van Halen

As I walked across the dry grass field towards the school I could see all the children seated together, awaiting our arrival. While the notebooks we would be distributing were cheap, this seemed to be a special event for these children, or at least the school made it out to be that way. However, when the kids saw me it definitely became a special occasion. In this small remote village I don’t think they get many foreign visitors.

After some introductions with the school administrators the AV equipment was setup and we were seated at a table while the children were told to line up based on their academic year. Following a brief speech in Kannada, the local language, we began distributing notebooks to the children. In fact, we were only distributing notebooks to select children. According to the event organizers, children in the lowest castes are provided notebooks by the Indian government. Therefore, this notebook drive was targeting the children from castes just above that level who did not qualify for the government support. Depending on their year in school the children each received different numbers of notebooks. When they received their notebooks they were very happy to shake my hand.

Having distributed all the notebooks, we spent some time in a year 10 classroom interacting with the kids. They had only learned basic English by this point so much of the interaction with me had to be translated. I asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up and many of the girls wanted to be teachers while the boys wanted to be policemen. There were a few future lawyers, doctors, and engineers along with 1 IT professional. I asked what they knew about America and many of the kids answered with, “Martin Luther King.” Somewhat strange but then again much of King’s nonviolence principles were inspired by Gandhi, whose fame and importance in India is heralded on every rupee bill.

When school ended for the day I was mobbed by children. They wanted to shake my hand and introduce themselves. Some even wanted my autograph but many of them didn’t have any paper so they asked me to sign their arms or hands. It was like being a celebrity; and to many of these kids I probably was. Considering the location of the village and the state of village life in India there is a good chance that a lot of the kids won’t see many other foreigners in person in their lifetimes. Unless they apply themselves in school and have the drive and dedication to pursue larger goals, the next foreigners they see might be future interns distributing notebooks in their village.