In the last two years, during the corona pandemic, stories of many such people have come to the fore, who have contributed significantly to the development of the society by doing incredible work in their respective fields. On one hand, the doctors and the entire health department were busy treating people regardless of the infection. At the same time, there are some people in the field of education who, due to the closure of schools and lack of online education facilities, continued to provide free education to the children of rural and remote areas without internet facility in the country. .
Such people have been honored as frontline warriors. Kalyan Mankoti is one such warrior in the field of education. Leaving the comfortable life of the city, he has taken the initiative to educate the children of the village in the shade of nature during the Corona period.
No internet, no online class
In fact, Corona almost put a brake on the fast-paced life. From economy to social life, everything came to a standstill. This disaster has had the worst impact on the school education system. Apart from bookish learning in children, the ability to learn things practically has been affected the most.
Through online classes in cities, children are still able to study. But children living in remote parts of the country and especially the hilly areas were not getting this facility very much. In such a situation, Kalyan Mankoti, a resident of Aso village in Bageshwar district of Uttarakhand, emerged as a dedicated teacher.
Kalyan used to travel 35 kilometers from Almora city every day to teach at a junior school in Chanoli village. He did not confine children to bookish knowledge only, but also prepared them as enlightened citizens by connecting them with nature.
Leaving the city, going to the village was not easy
As a creative teacher, Kalyan Mankoti has always been in the limelight. Along with teaching the syllabus to the children, they also develop in them the ability to learn and understand. He tries to engage and interest children in various social contexts.
Kalyan Mankoti did not shy away from his commitment as a teacher even when Covid-19 engulfed the entire country, and educational institutions were shut down. Leaving his comfortable life behind, he left the streets of Almora city and walked on the trails of Chanoli village.
This important step of his did not let the education of the children stop. In this work, his daughter also supported a lot. However, his decision to move from Almora town to Chanoli village was not an easy one. He had to face many challenges. He did not shy away from his commitment even in such difficult times when travel was strictly prohibited due to the lockdown.
Many paperwork had to be completed, so that there would be no blockage
On his way to the village, he was stopped by the police at several places and asked the reason for his exit. But because of their sincerity and zeal to help the students continue their education even during the pandemic, those policemen, also cooperating, gave them a way to the village.
Before he started his initiative to bring education to the doorstep of the students, he had to complete various paperwork. He met the District Magistrate and explained his objectives, then also contacted the Health Department and at the same time took the society into confidence.
He also informed the Education Department about his initiative. Because of this, he did not face any obstacle in fulfilling his aim towards education. After this, with the necessary facilities like masks, medicine and hygiene, Kalyan Mankoti started its journey to provide proper education to the students during the pandemic.
Journey started by running a class in a farm
Following the SOPs related to COVID-19, he started a learning, reading and comprehension exercise with a small group of children in a field near the forest. However, after all this the weather was also an obstacle, which Kalyan Mankoti had to overcome.
In this regard, he says, “Once it became difficult to conduct classes in a wet field during a rainy day. Then he saw a huge empty and closed house with a stone roof attached to the road. Soon after the rain stopped, the children sat on that terrace and started studying. From then on, whenever it rains, the terrace becomes our classroom.”
It is said that the work done with a good heart also gives good results. He told that when the owner of that vacant house came to know about his work and purpose, he happily got the house opened and allowed it to be converted into a class room. In this way the trust of the society in him was increasing day by day.
University students also come to teach
Kalyan Mankoti’s initiative is now joined by the daughter as well as some of her old students, who are currently studying various courses in the university. Some of them are from Chanoli village, while the rest of the students come to the village in turn and stay for two-four days and also teach various interesting subjects to the children.
These students also teach children to make many things from paper and clay, along with science, language, English, social science and music etc. One of his oldest students, Himani has taught students about plants and flora through many entertaining scientific experiments and fun games.
Apart from this Bhuvan Kandpal, Gargi, Riya, Bhupendra, Ojasvi, Anurag, Sachin, Saurabh, Deepa and Pushpa have also contributed diligently. This meaningful step of Kalyan Mankoti has started getting full support from the local society as well. Even the village elders have become instrumental in interacting with the students and helping them in their holistic education.
Village elders teach by telling stories to students
Revati Devi, an elder from the village, through her stories told the children how to present themselves in public. At the same time, Tara Devi taught the children to make various types of Pahari dishes. Bhupal Singh of the village informed the children about the business of milk and how to use the lactometer.
He also taught the children how to start a small business using dairy products and vegetables grown in the village. Sharing his experience, Bhupal Singh says that “this initiative gave him an opportunity to understand the children closely.”
Kalyan Mankoti’s initiative, which he started on his own, has today become a collective effort. This initiative, by bringing different people together for the same goal, has become a symbol of integrity. Kalyan says that children learn a lot from each other. This group includes children from both government and non-government schools.
Students learning local cuisine, languages and folk songs
The new generation, who was slowly forgetting their mother tongue, Kumaoni, now children speak in these classes. Here children not only read the general text, but also interact extensively with the people of their village, gathering additional information on various subjects.
He told that children now learn to make local delicacies. Sing old forgotten folk songs, and also learn a lot about the nearby flora and medicinal plants with interest.
This model is an example of how much a community can contribute to the overall education of children, which can be adopted by the larger society. Not only this, due to his efforts, Covid-19 awareness campaigns are also being conducted at various levels in the village. It is being discussed everywhere, hoardings and banners are being put up.
The living model of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’
Small groups of people are delivering essential information to different homes through songs and street plays, as per the COVID protocol. During this food motherIn collaboration with the community members and teachers, lunch is arranged for the children, grains and vegetables are given to every household. It has become a living model of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”.
Even in the delicate and sensitive times of Covid-19, the flame of education that Kalyan Mankoti has lit with the help of the villagers, is now being discussed far and wide. “I have started getting a lot of positive responses from people. Many people have joined me. Moreover, teachers from Rishikesh, Pauri, Nainital have started adopting this model in their respective areas.” (spinning feature)
Author: Vipin Joshi
Credits: Charkha (www.charkha.org)
Editing: Archana Dubey
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