NEW DELHI: In an attempt to bridge the gap between two generations — children and the elderly, a doctor from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has launched a unique initiative enabling children to learn life’s lessons from elders.
Healthy Aging India, an NGO initiated by Dr Prasun Chatterjee, Assistant Professor Geriatrics, AIIMS, has launched an Inter-Generational Learning Centre (IGLC) where the senior citizens are made to engage with children of classes six, seven and eight from schools run by the government and civic bodies.
“The prevailing education system does not have much scope to inculcate education intelligence in children. It doesn’t lend itself to understanding emotion, regulating emotion, self-regulation and empathy.
"Studies have shown those senior citizens are emotionally much more resilient than younger ones, because of their experience in the ways of the world. They help direct and channel our emotions towards positive ends and also teach us ways to relieve stress and bounce back from failures,” Chatterjee told this newspaper.
The initiative, which was launched at Purva Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Sector 12, Noida, has now extended its footprint to another school in Greater Noida, five run by New Delhi Municipal Corporation and Kerala School.
The success stories scripted at these institutions has enabled this initiative to spread its wings to neighbouring Jharkhand, where the NGO has tied up with the state government as part of a MoU.
Most of schools chosen or in the process of being chosen to be part of the initiative have more children from tribal households.
Chatterjee said five such schools will be turned into residential ones so that tribal children get more time to spend with elders.
“Teaching the little ones not only keeps them occupied but also gives them an excuse to indulge in such activities as nukkad natak (street play), painting, music and others,” Chatterjee said.
Senior citizens who agree to be a part of this initiative are trained for two months before asked to take up a teaching job at a school.