Times of India, Surat-31-10-13.
SURAT: This school is exclusive and first of its kind in the country for it only admits the senior most citizens as its students. Don't mistake it to be an old age home. Here, senior citizens can have fun and study and even discuss the intricacies of their life among themselves.
Prem Lakshmi Mandir, which is run by P P Savani Group, provides its premises and services free of cost to senior citizens, who are picked up from their homes, fed, taught and then dropped back in the evening everyday. The school has over 275 students and 45 of them are women. The school has been built on 5,000 square metre of space on the banks of river Tapi at Abrama village on the outskirts of Surat city. It has a capacity for 500 students.
A 60-year-old illiterate grandmother Kantaben took admission in the school when it began 15 days ago on Sharad Poornima day. "I was married early in my village of Umrala in Bhavnagar district and didn't get a chance to go to school. I want to write my will and read stories to my grandchildren. Hopefully, I would learn to do it here soon," Kantaben Umraliya said.
Pratap Trivedi (65) said, "Sixty per cent of our students are illiterate. We engage our students in activities like reading, watching CDs of Morari Bapu and Dongre Maharaj. We invite a guest every Saturday for discourse." A retired school principal Trivedi said the senior citizens listen to stories written by Javerchand Meghani and Kaniyalal Munshi and poetry of Umashankar Joshi, Kabir and Narmad. They also watch Mahabharat and Ramayan on television.
Gosa Gadhiya (69) a retired higher secondary teacher, said, "It is a challenge to teach people of my age the basics of reading and writing. It is a constructive activity that we are engaged in."
P P Savani Group chairman Mahesh Savani said, "My father came with this idea. When we have space and money, why not use them on an activity that gives happiness and satisfaction to hundreds of senior citizens."