Young men like them would be spending their money on shopping,
entertainment or on savings. But not these four friends from
Rajasthan. They have pooled their money to start a school for poor
kids and even take classes before leaving for office.
For almost two months now, the four friends from Rajasthan's
Jodhpur town - Mangal Singh Deora, Mahesh Banjara, Manish Dabi and
Kamlesh Shankhla - have been funding the education of
under-privileged children by starting a school at a rented
At the end of every month, the four pool their savings for the
school - for books, pens, uniforms and teachers' salaries.
In two months, the schools' enrolment figure has grown to 50.
While Banjara is a graduate in science and has done a computer
course, his three friends are undergraduates. The four are in the
age group of 25-28 years.
They started the primary school in two rooms in Jodhpur, some 330
km from state capital Jaipur.
"Most people don't know what education is worth because they are
fortunate to have it the easy way. Due to my poor background, I
faced insurmountable difficulties in getting it. And that's what
became the inspiration for this cause," Deora told IANS.
"I started working on it in the last two years and finally it took
shape in July. Now we have over 50 students in our school, a
majority of them from poor background. Six kids do not even have
parents," he said.
A marketing executive with a private firm, Deora had to drop the
idea of higher studies after school as his family could not afford
it. But now he is trying to get a graduation degree.
"The difficulties which I faced would always pinch me and make me
think about what I should do so that others don't go through the
same situation. I got the idea of starting a primary school for
poor children and my three friends chipped in," he added.
Banjara works in a local factory while Dabi and Shankhla are
executives in a private company.
"In June, we checked our bank balance which was enough to rent two
rooms and we started a primary school," said Manish.
They are paying Rs.4,000 as monthly rent for the building that
houses their school named 'Hamara Bachpan' (our childhood).
"We contacted people living in slums and came to know that their
children were not going to school. We convinced them to send their
children to our school. They agreed. About 50 children are now
getting free education here," said Mangal.
"We take classes before going to work and have also appointed
teachers to teach the students," he said.
"We are so happy to do this. We never realised that the response
is going to be so good," he said.
But due to a rush of admission-seekers, the four friends are now
faced with a bigger challenge. "We have limited resources and to
provide everything free to every student is bit of a problem, we
also have to pay the rent as well as salary to the teachers... We
are now requesting parents, who come from somewhat better
background, to help us in whatever way they can to run the
school," said Shankhla.
Ramesh Kumar, father of five-year-old Rohit who studies in Hamara
Bachpan, said: "We are really thankful to these guys for educating
our children... Otherwise it would have been very difficult for us
to send them to school because of the high fees."
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