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The Dharani Family: Finding the Perfect School
Natasha Dharani vividly remembers the joy she and her family felt when they found out that their two children, Eeshaan, 13, and Tanisha, 8 were admitted to the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad, India.
“We were anxious because we really wanted the children to be accepted, so you can imagine how elated we were,” she says.
In the two years to follow, the Dharanis would not harbor any doubts that they had made the right decision. In fact, Mr. and Mrs. Dharani feel so strongly about their desire to keep their children in the Academy in Hyderabad that they have abandoned any plans to return home to Namibia.
“We haven’t looked back since. We’ve considered many times to go back home, but when we consider all things, my husband and I wouldn’t have our children study anywhere else other than the Aga Khan Academy, Hyderabad, and I can surely say that the sole reason we are still in India today is so that the children can attend the school.”
Going to a new school can be a challenge for young people, but the Dharanis soon found out that the Academy provided all the care and help needed to ease their children’s shift.
“Initially my daughter had a problem with the transition into primary school, but with the support she got from her teachers, she now feels comfortable in her setting, is more confident and is socializing with different children. In the same way, the teachers of my son have supported him to explore and build on his talents to do public speaking and act and sing.”
“I was very clear on what I wanted and that this was the school I wanted my children to attend,” Mrs. Dharani muses now, talking about her vision for her children’s future. She notes that she is particularly enthralled about the school’s commitment, as she puts it “to raising ethical leaders for the future who look at the world from different perspectives and learn about values such as respect and cultural diversity.”
She admits that sometimes she feels daunted by the International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum because of its unique approach to learning but is entirely pleased with the outcome it has produced in her children’s growth.
“The IB curriculum is something new to us and to be frank a little scary at times because it is so open ended, but I am very happy with the results so far. I just love the idea of learning by practicing because in this way knowledge never gets lost. The last session we had at the school about the teaching method in various subjects was very enlightening and cleared many doubts we have as parents have about the curriculum.”
She goes on to add, “The children have just grown and developed so much in a short time span. They’ve become more knowledgeable, they want to know more about things and they care about others and the world around them. They have become more confident and outspoken, and most of all they enjoy learning and going to school, and they’ve made many friends.”
Reflecting on the family’s current engagement regarding the Academy, Mrs. Dharani ruminates:
“The children are happy at school and who wouldn’t be? Every time I visit the school, I stand in awe at the magnificent beauty of the campus, so close to nature. The children have all the facilities to provide for their needs, make them feel comfortable and allow them to explore their interests in various activities including swimming, reading, music and drama. The children get a healthy lunch at school. They feel safe, and proper transport is provided. The staff are friendly, and I find it praiseworthy that the teachers are always ready to address the individual needs of the children.”
By Perviz Walji