When you enter Shubham’s small 3 room home in Mihijam, in the Jamtara district, he will show you his books and school uniform kept neatly against one wall with a beaming smile. 2 years back, the house did not have a single book and neither Shubham’s parents nor anyone in his village had set foot in a school.
Shubham and his family of 6 belong to the Pasi community, who have been traditional honey collectors for generations. It took many visits and several conversations, to convince Shubham’s parents to send him to school and as a result he was enrolled in the nearest Greenwood Public School.
While enrolling Shubham and other children from the community was half the battle, the other half was ensuring they continued going to school. 2 years ago, a now ecstatic Shubham was not that driven towards studies and school. The school reached out to his family and helped them understand the importance of education. The teachers were supportive towards his studies and patiently dealt with him, getting him to adjust to the school.
A 50% fee concession extended by the school helps the family feel less financially burdened.The cost of other amenities is borne by different sponsors.
Today, Shubham is a cheerful kid studying in 6th standard, regularly attending his school and thriving on his education. Inspired by Shubham, his younger brother has also started going to school. Hearteningly, like Shubham’s family, many other families from the community are keen to send their children to school.
The state of Jharkhand has a literacy rate of 66.4% and 4.7% children in the age of 6-14 are not even enrolled in school. The most affected are the backward communities, who don’t have access to even basic education, let alone quality education. The situation is alarming and one that needs immediate action.
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