Mewat Mondays: What is a Classroom Without Lights or Furniture?

Bring yourself back to the time when you were just seven years old.

Imagine yourself in the classroom, sitting down on the cold hard floor with a book in your hands. You are trying to read the words, but it is hard to see. There isn’t enough light coming in from the window.

You look around, trying to find another source of light. When you look up at the ceiling, a glimmer of hope emerges, as there it is, what you have been looking for – a light bulb.

Eagerly, you stand up and search for the switch. Locating it at the corner of the room, you delightfully try to turn on the lights. But no matter how many times you flick that switch, darkness still surrounds you.

Disappointed, you head back to the cold floor and take your place. With the book in your lap, the only thing you can do now is to squint your eyes as hard as you can.

As you look around, you find slight comfort in knowing that you are not alone, as all the other children in the room are doing exactly the same thing.

Forced to take the class outside.

But luckily for most of us, we enjoyed the privilege of having lighting and furniture in our classrooms.

Maybe we even took them for granted.

However, this is not the case of the children in Mewat. Lights cannot be turned on, because there is no electricity. Even though the government funds the schools’ electricity, power distribution in the rural area can be unreliable.

In the school campus in Salamba village, some classrooms were lucky enough to have lights installed. However, the village receives only 8 hours of electricity per day as determined by the electrical company, and the school cannot adjust these timings to suit their hours. In other schools, classrooms do not even have lights installed. The only solution for them is to study outside in the corridors; be it during summer, winter, and even the monsoon season.

If the lack of proper lighting isn’t bad enough, these children have no tables and chairs to sit on, either. There isn’t enough to go around for everyone. Furniture, if any, is mostly unusable due to wear and tear. Schools would love to start repairing their broken furniture, but have been unable to do so due to lack of resources.

Children squeeze on the floor, while schools try to find resources to repair the faulty furniture.

There’s so much broken furniture in Salamba, that it occupies an entire classroom.

Classrooms may also be unused, because of their poor flooring.

A classroom gets abandoned, because of its potholes.

But just as the picture looks bleak, there is hope for the children in Salamba, who recently received new furniture donated by our partner, GE Capital. Partners like them make learning much more pleasant and enriching for the children. In the future, we aim to equip all other 18 schools in Mewat with new and/or repaired furniture in their classrooms, too.

Brand new furniture – Thank you GE Capital!

To help create more ideal classrooms for the children, collaborate with us! Email info@srf-foundation.org for more information.

Mewat Mondays is brought to you by our interns, Aisyah and Rafidah, who didn’t realise just how privileged they have been, until they visited Mewat. As part of their field research, they will be spending time in the 19 villages, and will gladly share pictures and anecdotes from these experiences. Reach them at siti.mohd@srf.com and rafidah.razak@srf.com respectively.

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Filed under Mewat Mondays, Mewat Rural Education Programme (MREP)

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