- Posted February 18, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Girls + Education: Your message
Iron Man with a Golden Heart
A US Citizen's decision to help the needy children of a local school.
Iron Man with a Heart of Gold
Mr. Arjun Verma is an American citizen who has adopted all the children of a middle school in Sector 14, Gurgaon. I met him and asked him about his decision to help the children of this school.
What inspired you to help these children?
“You know I was lucky to have my knees replaced with metal ones and then when I developed a back problem, I again got a piece of steel fitted in my spine in a US hospital. So you can see I am an Iron Man in that sense. I felt energized after these operations and felt I had to do some good with my new found vigor. My inspiration came from a friend’s wife.
"It was a case of child marriage in Gurgaon. A Muslim girl was taken out of school by her parents in order to get her married off at the age of thirteen. Mrs.Amita Bhargava went to the parents and convinced them to allow the teenager to continue her studies. Her Good Samaritan work paid off and today the girl is nearing her graduation in commerce. I felt I too would devote my time to helping these children.”
Why did you select this particular school?
‘I like being practical and chose the one nearest to where I live.’
What were your first steps in helping these school children?
‘A visit to the school showed that the students lacked many basic facilities. The class rooms were incomplete and roofless. The children studied out in the open. It was basically a case of negligence. There were funds for the school but they were lying unused because of red tape. I went from one office to another till the funds were released and construction started on the roofs. Today there are numerous classrooms with roofs which helped the children stay warm in the extremely cold weather of December and January.’
What are your plans for the future?
‘I have met many people and with their help have been able to provide shoes to children who came barefoot to school. Right now I am working on getting special computers for these children so that they may become good citizens of this internet based communications age.’
What makes you feel great when you meet these children?
‘To tell you the truth it is these children who have adopted me and now call me either Dada Jee or Nana Jee (grandfather). They are constantly coming to me to sort out small problems in their lives. Their faith in me makes me feel very happy.’