Bordering On Hope: A retired principal, running a 3-room school with broken blackboards, wants to teach till his last breath.
Biking on one of the toughest, rockiest terrains ever, our Do Righter reached the Indo-Nepal border, where the road itself is the border and the 2 countries rest on either side.
On our way, we saw 2 kids trekking with their teacher towards their school in Megma. They stay in a village that is 10,000 feet above level.
The teacher, Neela Ma’am, told us about her a 3-room school called Saraswati Mandir run by a kind-hearted Principal who loves teaching.
Meet Principal Chandrakumar Pradhan, who has been working with the school since he was 19. He finally retired as principal at the age of 61, but his love for the school and students, and passion for teaching brought him back here.
This 3 room school has shaky benches, peeling walls, broken roofs, cracked blackboards, torn charts and limited stationery for the kids. But that does not deter them from coming here.
The Principal even jokes about how his board used to be black once upon a time. He believes in looking at the positive side of things.
Principal Chandrakumar tells us that the kids studying here come from lower economic backgrounds. They don't even get proper meals. Being the kind-hearted person that he is, he does not charge them fees for school / tuitions.
Chandrakumar's students do not have proper stationery or blackboards. But their passion to study drives them to use whatever they have - even if it means using chalk and stones to practice writing the alphabets. One teacher helped them out with a few basic stationery supplies… but they will always need more of it.
He told us about something he wrote in his diary when he was in the 4th standard, that he always wanted to become a teacher… but not in the urban areas. He wanted to teach in places like this. He does not mind the condition of this place… he will continue to teach here, and he wants to teach till his last breath.
Chandrakumar dreams of a brighter future for them. All he wished for was 3 blackboards and stationery kits for them. And we asked people to contribute Rs. 13,000 for the same.
Teachers, students, trainers… everyone shared this story on their timelines and contributed to make his dream a reality. We reached the stationery shop like as if it was our first day of school.
We packed pens, pencils, tiffin boxes, bags, text books, note books, crayons and sketch pens for the 20 students and got volunteers to help distribute it to them.
They were beaming as they came up to receive their kits, and their joy was infectious. It was heart-warming to see them enjoy such simple pleasures.
Chandrakumar thought it was only right to scribble a ‘Thank You' message for our Do Righters on his newly acquired boards.
We also received a lot of messages from people saying that they wanted to send in more stationery supplies for them. We gave the kids a goodbye kiss, and left with a warm, fuzzy feeling in our hearts!