Nuagaon School Project. | Milaap
Nuagaon School Project.
of Rs.60,000
13 supporters
  • Arjun

    Created by

    Arjun Kapoor Patnaik
  • ND

    This fundraiser will benefit

    Nuagaon District School

    from Cuttack, Odisha

For the last few years my father has been periodically working with Mr. Biswajit Mohanty who is a Wildlife conservation expert based in Orissa to help uplift the local community. Mr. Mohanty, during his various travels to interior rural Orissa observed severely poor living conditions of the local community who are mostly tribals. This was further manifested in the state of the local schools that cater to the children of the tribals. Based on what he saw, Mr. Mohanty started devoting some time and effort into improving the living conditions of the school children. He is doing this in addition to his full-time job as a wildlife expert.

During my interactions with him he has communicated a few instances where he fund-raised via his personal network. I have listed below some of his work he has narrated via email (Its lengthy but please do spend a little time to read this as it is emblematic of the nature of the work he undertakes and is a  fairly accurate reflection of how the funds we raise today will be spent):

BM: We had set up a small elephant research station at remote village in the middle of forests of Dhenkanal district in 2001. After a few visits I realized the utter poverty of the locals since I found children roaming around with torn clothes and even without clothes for the boys. I started donating new clothes for all children of Rajanga village where we were based. Then I thought of covering the nearby villages as well. A few friends chipped in and we could set up a considerable fund of almost Rs.65,000 annually by 2005 when we ran the program. We bought two sets of clothes for each child (upto the age of 18 years) after surveying the village for the age and sex of children. We also handed out toys, dolls and bats to the boys for cricket. We covered 4 villages and ran this program till 2013. We also handed out blankets during the winter since it gets terribly cold in these hills.

Later on we also donated new cycles to girl students of four women colleges in Hindol block . I was shocked when I heard our local volunteers say that some girls had to drop out of college after admission as they were too poor to afford the bus fare to visit the college every day. I thought it was an abominable crime that after decades of independence, a girls' education and a possible career for livelihood was at stake for a mere Rs.2,800 (the price of one bicycle) . Ultimately, we donated around 60 bicycles in that area during the space of one year which covered all the colleges.

I remember during a visit to Narsinghpur (in Cuttack district) I met a group of people who are nomads who had settled on the roadside. They eke out a living by selling brooms in the nearby villages. It was a very hot summer afternoon since it was about 43 degrees. I saw an old man emerge from a hut to go to the tube well for some water. I saw him limping. Soon I realized that he had no slippers and hence had to fold his feet when he walked on the hot ground. Later, when I went near the settlement, I saw about 3 pairs of slippers in front of one of their ramshackle leaf huts though there were about 15 people in that group. I found that the slippers were used by that sub group of 2 adults and one child who used to take the brooms for sale to the villages for that date. In other words, the slippers were being rotated as they were too poor to buy their own each. I immediately asked my local wildlife assistant to get the slipper dealer to the colony which was about 3 kms from the nearest bazar and buy a chappal for everyone for which I had to spend only about Rs.1,500

I also realized during my various trips to these districts that that the local students had to sweat during the summer as there were no fans in the schools. Hence, I started the school fan donation program and we have covered 5 schools by now and I there are another 4-5 more schools to cover.
The basic idea is to do targeted donations to specific groups of society especially children who are studying so that they complete their education and can earn a livelihood. Besides, we also felt the need to provide blankets, sarees and dhotis to some sections of people who live in this area ,i.e, the Juang and Malhar who are extremely poor as they have less land and are cut off from mainstream development. Hence, we concentrate on these villages only.

The latest program was at Nuagaon school, photos of which are attached. We gave out 12 ceiling fans a few months ago. This school is a high school which is privately managed but there is government aid only for the teacher's salaries. The hostel has 75 students. The total strength is about 200 students.
Hearing his tales, I realized how insulated we are from basic problems of people living in rural India. Living in big cities has its own share of problems (and believe me they can be painful at times) but I now really think we have our own version of “First world problems” when I read some of Biswajit’s notes.

Biswajeet is now working with the Nuagaon school to address issues they are facing with water supply in the school & the hostel. The school has a hostel for about 75 students and they face a major water problem since there is one small well without any motor pump or storage tank. We plan to build a water tank, install a submersible pump and provide taps on the tank so that simultaneously students can use the water. (The estimated cost is around Rs.60,000).

He has also identified a few more schools in the Telkoi block where they need to install fans in order to make learning a little more comfortable for the students. The estimated cost of this exercise is Rs.30,000.

I strongly urge all to help out in any way possible. No contribution is too small. Lets all get together and support Biswajit in the fantastic work he is doing for a part of the population that has been mostly overlooked by a majority of us.

Thank you

P.S Important to note that since Biswajit is doing this in addition to his regular work in the district there are no overhead costs and all the money collected will be directly contributing to the 2 programs mentioned.

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