For Future Officers! Villagers Crowdfund Lakhs & Donate Land To Expand Govt School In Maharashtra

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For Future Officers! Villagers Crowdfund Lakhs & Donate Land To Expand Govt School In Maharashtra

"No one from their village has become an officer. They want to see their children become officers and hence they took this initiative," said an officer in praise of the villagers' years-long efforts to raise money to expand the government school.

For the longest time, ensuring quality education and a better future for children was seen as a responsibility people set aside for the schools and governments. However, a village in Maharashtra's Beed district has set an example by showing that ensuring education is a collective responsibility. The village residents, who are all engaged in humble professions of farming and cultivation, pooled money and land to upgrade the Zilla Parishad-run school for their children. Their small investment today will hopefully translate to a larger movement that would motivate communities to take education to every child in the country.

Putting In Money And Land For Education

The Zilla Parishad-run school in the Pokhari village, located around 160 kms from Aurangabad city, needed urgent repairs and lacked the kind of space to accommodate students. One of the residents, Ram Falke, said, "It has four classrooms, and the condition of two of them had turned very bad and needed urgent repairs. Although the government agencies gave some funds for the repair work, it was not enough." Taking things into their own hands, the villagers launched a movement to construct a new building for the school.

Initially, four villagers came ahead and donated about an acre of land for the expansion, and the villagers were able to raise ₹18 lakhs through crowdfunding. Since the soil in the village is black, it posed certain challenges to construction and required more money. The expansion, too, demanded a lot more and the villagers worked toward building up to the amount.

Upgradation and construction work of the government school, which began in 2018, faced multiple such challenges and was also hampered by the pandemic in 2020. Once the pandemic subsided, the works resumed, and the people were able to raise ₹39 Lakhs for the project. Some more additional amount is required to complete the flooring work, but Falke and the villagers are confident that it will be completed by the next academic year.

A Project For The Future Officers

In the village where about 1,300 people reside, nearly 135 children attend school. The Zilla-parishad-run school teaches students from classes one to seven and will now have the number of classrooms expanded from four to six with the people's efforts. Parubai Falke, a sugarcane labourer, stated that the previous school structure was precarious, which made the children scared to even go to school. During rainy seasons, they often returned home without having attended classes. However, with the villagers now investing in the construction, Falke believes there will be no such fear among the children.

A report by the New Indian Express quoted Dada Khillare, a resident of the village, saying, "Today, our children are attending classes in the open ground and tree shade. We wish to hoist the national flag on the Republic Day in the new school, but the building will be completely ready by the next academic year." The dreams many parents like Khillare hold on to for their children's futures are as high as the flags raised.

Speaking about the humble villagers, the additional chief executive officer (CEO) of Beed Zilla Parishad Dr Dnyanoba Mokate, said, "They say that no one from their village has become an officer. They want to see their children become officers, and hence they took this initiative." Over time the story of the villagers reached more spaces, and their efforts were widely appreciated. Taking cognisance of their initiative, the Zilla Parishad also decided to help them and have planned to undertake the work of the playground, kitchen shed, and compound wall around the school.

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Writer : Laxmi Mohan Kumar
Editor : Jayali Wavhal
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