Migrant workers fund village school in Jharkhand

If they had access to education, fate would not have taken them away from home for a living. This bunch of people builds school that teaches for free, writes Mukesh Ranjan
The school started with eight classrooms. It encourages many things, including computer lessons, music and physical activities | express
The school started with eight classrooms. It encourages many things, including computer lessons, music and physical activities | express

JHARKHAND: A group of migrant workers, who are earning their livelihood in other states, has been funding an English medium school in a small village in Jharkhand’s Chatra district so that their children get better job opportunities.

The Mansarovar Education Society, set up in Kade village of Chatra in 2017 with just 24 students, currently has 217 on its rolls. The students pay a nominal fee, while the poor and orphans get free education, books and bus facility.

All expenses, including salary of teachers, transportation and others are borne by the migrant workers working in other states. Fees collected from the students is not enough to meet all the expenses. The school, spread across nearly four acres, has its own land donated by villagers from the common land bank. It is affiliated to CBSE and run by a school management committee.

According Sohan Sahu, the key figure behind setting up the school, the objective is to ensure that nobody should migrate to Mumbai and other big cities and work as labourers due to lack of education.

“We took a pledge to set up a school within the village to make quality education available to every child. Every month, migrants living in Mumbai donate money to run the school,” said Sahu. He has returned to the village from Mumbai permanently after 29 years just to manage the school. “I left the village for Mumbai in 1993 and worked there as labourer before I became an auto driver,” he added.

Sahu said that while working in Mumbai for several years, a thought crossed his mind quite often: if he ever had an opportunity to study properly, he would not have moved to Mumbai to work as a labourer. He would have gone there as a doctor, engineer or any other professional. Then he decided to open an English medium school in the village itself so that, the younger generation get better job opportunities.

Sahu said his idea to start a school in the village clicked with many migrants who had returned home to celebrate Holi. “Around four acres of common land was used to set up the school. Intially, we had eight classrooms. A boundary wall, office building and toilets were built after donations started arriving. The school is free for all,” said Sahu.

Khirodar Sahu, who worked as a diamond cutter in Mumbai, says he too returned to his village in 2015 to work as a teacher in the school.

“Due to poverty and lack of facilities in the village, I could not study beyond Class 10 and moved to Mumbai to work as a labourer before I started working as a diamond cutter. I have returned to the village permanently to contribute my bit as a teacher,” said Khirodar. Ramesh Kumar, who is a government teacher and also a member of the school management committee, says more than Rs 15 lakh donated by migrants and well-off villagers has already been invested in the school.

Hemant Kumar Sahu, who owns a small photocopy shop in the village and was the first to send his children to the school, said that he is satisfied with the quality of teaching offered by the place. “My three children are studying in this school. I could not have found such quality education anywhere else in this area,” says Hemant.

Bus service & affiliated to CBSE

Salary of teachers, cost of running a bus service and other expenses are borne by migrant workers. Fees collected from students is not enough. Spread over four acres, the school owns the land donated by villagers from a common land bank. It’s affiliated to CBSE and run by a school management committee

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