Children of Musahar community in Gadhatole, Brahmasthan head for their tuition class in this recent picture.
The tuition class has had a dramatic effect in the Mushahar community where children's school attendance is zero. 46 children from the 40 household of the community are presently enrolled in the class run by a local teacher.
SARLAHI, Jan 9: Eight-year-old Deepak Majhi has never been to school. Just like other children of the Mushahar community in Gadhetole of Sarlahi, he used to spend time either playing at home or helping parents in their work - at construction sites or in fields. However, his routine has changed these days.
“It's been a month, my son has joined tuition class,” said an elated Shubhakaran Majhi, Deepak's father, 40. “It feels so good to see him with books and notebooks,” he added.
When he was a kid, Shubhakaran was very keen to go to school. Though he was admitted to a school after a lot of hassle, he had to drop out soon, as his family was not able to pay fees to the school. “At that time, I was supposed to pay Rs 20 to the school.
But we did not have that much money and because of that I had to quit,” reminisces Shubhakaran, who now pulls rickshaw to earn a livelihood. He said that his life would have been far better if he was educated.
Bisharan Majhi of the same community has six children. None of them ever went to school. But he now feels, future of at least two of them could be brighter, thanks to the same tuition class.
“My two daughters who are 19 and 17 years old are already married. Sons are younger. One is 15 and another is 14 years old. None of them ever went to school,” narrated Majhi. “However, yet other two, the youngest ones, are recieving education at the tuition class,” he added. Two of his kids who are attending the tuition classes are Krishna, 8 and Achhhela, 6.
The tuition class has had a dramatic effect in the Mushahar community where children's school attendance is zero. 46 children from the 40 household of the community are presently enrolled in the class run by a local teacher. All this started one fine day when some local youths contemplated over the ways to give rights to education to the kids.
Informal discussions between the youths ended in a decision that they would raise money to start the noble work. They were able to collect around Rs 14,000. The community pays Rs 3000 per month to the tutor, the teacher, Inarjeet Majhi, said.
“It was a joint decision of the local youths to pave way for the education of our community's children,” said Inarjeet, a SLC graduate. “We decided the children should be tutored for three months and than should be admitted in school in the upcoming academic session,” he added. He was sitting idle at home even after passing SLC examinations.
Seeing him a suitable tutor, the group selected him for the noble work. “Apart from the collected money, some have donated stationeries as well. Or else, the kids would not come to tuition class,” Inarjeet said.
The class starts at 6.30 sharp in the morning and ends at 9 am. It is not easy to get the children ready everyday, however, the community has taken the campaign so positively that every family is eager to send kids to the class, said Deepak's mother Pramila.
Pramila cited discrimination against the children of Majhi community as the major reason behind the children's unwillingness to attend school. She accused teachers of higher castes of biased treatment of Majhi children “They do not treat our children as equal to others. Along with that mostly these teachers do not come to school, so we didn't find any use of sending our children to school,” she said.
Social right activist in Sarlahi, Bachhulal Mahato, who is one of the youths to initiate the tuition class for kids states that the youths have decided to do everything to ensure right to education of the community's children. According to him, birth certificates of all the children have been made and collected for ensuring their long term education. “We sent few kids back home as they did not have birth certificates. Despite helping them to make it, few were not eager to do so. Or else, we have already collected certificates of all the kids so that we could do something for their education,” he said.
Dr Sitaram Singh of Lalbandi adds that the idea is to create a learning environment for the Dalit kids. After making them used to books, learning and writing, the kids would be sent to school, he said.
District Education Officer Homanath Subedi meanwhile said that a new campaign would be run in the coming session to bring the Dalit kids to school. “Education is free. But they are still not attending school. In the coming session, we are going to bring them to school through a special campaign,” he informed.