Sunday, 27 April 2014

Mission Megma: Doing Right

The past week had been terrible. Unmet expectations, sundry drawbacks, exhausting but not adequately rewarding work pressure, and the big tug of war between the material and the immaterial needs. 'Disappointed' was the big word of the week. 

And with this down and out state of mind I sat down to read about the latest half story of Tata Capital's Do Right - Half Story initiative. This half story is about Mr. Chandrakumar Pradhan and his dilapidated 3-room school in Megma, a sleepy remote village located on the Indo-Nepal border, on the Singalila ridge at an altitude of approx 10,000 ft. above sea level.  A cursory glance through the story and I learn that Mr. Pradhan has retired as the Principal of Saraswati Mandir School, where he had been working since he was 19 years old. 

Even after retirement, Mr. Pradhan continues to teach the 20 odd students here, all for his passion for teaching. The humble 3-room school is in a state of disrepair, with walls peeling off, blackboards cracked up and not-so black any-more and benches that are all run-down and shaky. There's not enough stationary too. When the basic supplies run out, Mrs Neela, the only other teacher at the school, a mother figure for the students, helps them with practising their lessons on the floor, with chalk outlines and stones placed on top of them.

The run-down Saraswati Mandir School in Megma, on the Indo-Nepal border

Cracked and not-so-black blackboard in the classroom

The students come from economically weaker families but want to continue studying

The students at this school come from economically weaker families. There are days when they have to go without meals. They use their pencils right till they become stubs in their little hands, so the idea of good stationary items and a decent school kit is but a distant dream for them.  And this is just what Mr. Pradhan wishes for his students - basic stationary and supplies to keep their love for learning alive.

Mr. Chandrakumar Pradhan features in this video and shares his dreams for his school with the viewers. Despite the many shortcoming he faces everyday, the warmth and happy tilt in his voice and the light in his eyes lighten up my spirit too. 


The dedication and passion is inspiring indeed - but what warms up my heart is the selfless spirit - Mr. Pradhan does it all, and gives private tuitions too - without charging a single rupee for his services.  Wow! Here we are, the lesser mortals, expressing disappointment over this and that, and here's this gentleman - warm and encouraging with much passion for his work, despite the many challenges he faces everyday.

Mr. Pradhan's half story inspires us all. It inspires us to be selfless and to think beyond the I-Me-Myself syndrome that we have all got caught up in. It motivates us all to be more giving and to reach out to those who are less privileged than we are. So let us all help Mr. Pradhan in his selfless mission of educating the kids with lesser means and ensuring that every house in this remote village is educated.

 With the kindness of many 'Do-Righters', his immediate need of blackboards for the school and stationary kits for the 20 students has been met with. But we all know, a humble school with humble students has many a humble needs - uniforms, woollens, basic furniture...little things that make the process and experience of learning better and cherished. So do contribute whatever you can towards this noble cause. Let us all 'Do Right' and make Mission Megma our own. A happy ending to the Megma half story is in our hands.

Mr. Pradhan, working at the school since he was 19

About the Do Right - Half Stories initiative:

Tata Capital's Do Right - Half Stories campaign is a journey to identify unique stories of courage, perseverance and determination from some of the remotest parts of the country, highlighting the challenges faced by the individuals/communities living there and letting ordinary citizens step in and support their needs and dreams, effectively scripting a happy end to their stories.

For more details about this heart warming initiative by Tata Capital, please do visit the Do Right website. Details of how you can help and support the cause are given on the website.