Have just returned from a three day stay at Nadakhanda village in Orissa. Am greatly impressed by the spade work done in the village by Shri Puran Chand over the last six months and the foresight of Srijan Foundation & Shri Rahul Dewan to back him up for under taking this ardous task of setting up a school for imparting informal education to the children in the village.
A difficult task has been taken up by Srijan Foundation. Cooperation of the villagers and sympathisers is required to pursue it .
Please see brief report
30 April 07
Visit to Nadakhanda and Sri Jagannatha Pathasala from 25 to 27 April 2007
Nadakhanda (district Puri, Orissa, pop. 2500 approx) is an agrarian village, divided into four smaller groups of dwellings. It is approx 45 km from Bhubhaneshwar and travel time is about two hours by taxi over pucca and kutcha roads.
Villagers have very small land holdings. Only a handful of houses have pucca roof. Rest is huts with stone walls and thatched roofs. Almost every house has cows and a pair of bulls. Only 23 houses have power. There is no piped fresh water supply for the village. Houses do not have wells, but a few enterprising families have sunk tube wells and installed hand pumps. The Village has half a dozen ponds large and small, and water in these are used for drinking and washing purposes. Cattle also use the same ponds. Open fields serve as toilets.
There is a government school with classes from I to V. The building is pucca and has two rooms. As per the teacher Shri Naik with whom I had a discussion there are nearly 130 children but only two teachers. On 27th April when I visited, only one teacher was present. The nearest doctor is five km way. Villagers have to go to Bhubhaneshwar, Puri or Cuttack for any reasonable medical treatment.
Sri Jagannatha Pathasala
Set amidst sylvan surroundings Sri Jagannatha Pathasala has been functioning since January 2007 from the residence of Shri Bhimo Pareda, who is among the comparatively well off persons in the village. He is employed in the Cuttack Medical Hospital in the Accounts section. He and his family are permanent residents of Nadakhanda village.
Classes are held in the front court yard, open to sky however during rain children shift to a room on the side. There are nearly fifty children attending the classes from 3PM to 5 PM and Shri Prakash Bhola is the teacher and he has passed the Higher Secondary Examination. Children are from class 0 to class V.
Local language is Oriya, and only one or two persons understand Hindi or English. The children are taught and explained in Oriya, which is their mother tongue. Children in classes IV and V are fairly proficient in their mother tongue; however numerals used are also in Oriya.
Shri Prakash Bhola is working as the part time teacher since January on a token emolument of Rs 750 / month. At present there are fifty children and additional children are likely to join. It is not possible for one teacher to handle so many children.
Parents and villagers are very happy at the initiative taken by Srijan Foundation to impart informal education to the children of Nadakhanda village.
- Sri Jagannath Pathashala belongs to the Nadakhanda village. It is being run for the benefit of children in the Nadakhanda village. It is the responsibility of the villagers and teachers to ensure the school runs efficiently. Srijan Foundation is only a catalyst and supporter.
- These classes are NOT a replacement for formal school, but only an additional help and support especially for weaker students.
- Shri Prakash will make a fresh list of students as on 01 May 07 and update the attendance register, also forward a copy to Srijan Foundation.
- Teachers must concentrate on children in classes III, IV and V.
- Have suggested syllabus for classes I and II: Oriya, numbers + Hygiene and morals and for Classes IV and V: Oriya, arithmetic with Arabic numerals, and English. + Hygiene and morals.
- Take an initial ‘test’; follow it by another after six months to ascertain progress.
- Children must be treated firmly but kindly. No corporeal punishment can be administered.
- Ensure monthly distribution of note books, pencils.
- Cook and serve meals twice a month to start with.
Suggested Action Plan
- Continue at the Present location till satisfactory alternate accommodation is available.
- Shri Prakash Bhola who is functioning as teacher to continue. ( token emoluments Rs 750 / month)
- Engage an additional teacher @ Rs 750/ month. ( a suitable candidate has already been interviewed on 25/26 April)
- Obtain monthly reports on attendance and expenditures.
- Visits by Project coordinator/ trustee from Delhi ¾ times a year for advice and guidance.
- Form a local committee in the village with parents, teachers and well wishers to manage day to day affairs.
- Consider building / alternate shed accommodation by 2009/10.
- Contributions from the villagers may be asked for after some time.
- Bank account to be opened by teachers for crediting token emoluments for their part time work as teachers.
- Expense vouchers should be printed, and used.
- All expenses should be accounted for. Discuss prior incurring of any additional expenses.
- For the next say six months we may transfer funds to meet SJP expenses to the private account of Shri Puranchand (amounts are small, 2000/- per month).Subsequently a local bank a/c will need to be opened.
- Shri Puranchand Swain who has initiated the project and is fully aware of all aspects be made the Project Coordinator.
- Shri Bhimo Pareda, in whose residence the school is being run now may be the Project Facilitator (Hony).