Life hasn't always been kind to Antara Naskar. The 17 year old takes every challenge head-on. She is known as 'the girl with the magic smile' at her school, Premasree. Premasree is a residential school for visually impaired children, and Antara is one of the star students.
Standing on their own feet:
Premasree was founded on 17th December 2012 in the village of Jagulgachi, West Bengal, by Biju Nair. It envisions an environment where the blind are an inclusive part of society. The school provides education, and lodging, for the students, who range from 4-25 years of age. It started with 9 children, and now has grown to take 27 students under its wing. Most of the children belong to families who are not financially stable; they come from highly impoverished rural and tribal areas, where starvation and malnutrition are rampant and the daily income per family is less than Rs. 60.
The children are taught by special trainers, most of whom are visually impaired as well. The students learn various subjects – from reading in braille to working with computers. The children are also trained in mobility, and concepts formation, in order to identify where objects are placed and to identify them by their shape. Some of the older students need to be admitted in the 2nd and 3rd standards. Each student is taught everything, from lessons to vocational training, to become well-rounded individuals, who can become employable later in life. They partake in various extra-curricular activities, and keep themselves occupied.
The students' day begins at around 8.30 in the morning. They attend their lessons, take part in various activities, and are given nutritious meals. The lessons usually end in the afternoon, after which they are free to do whatever they want.
From poverty to getting a second chance at life:
Antara is one of the several exceptional children at Premasree. She loves reading story books in her spare time, and like most students, dreads mathematics. She wants to grow up and become a teacher one day, giving back to the community which has helped her become who she is today. She loves eating Phuchkas, and confidently declares, “I can beat anyone at a Phuchka eating competition.”
Mofizul is sixteen, and hails from Sharberia, in West Bengal. He was found by Premasree in extreme poverty. Today, Mofizul is a star student at the school. He takes part in several activities, and is a gifted elocutionist, having won several prizes for the same. Mofuzil and Antara are just two of the children whose lives have been turned around by Premasree.
Lend a helping hand:
With the school having grown within 2 years, there is a need to provide for the increasing number of students coming in every year. This means there is a need for more classrooms, a bigger campus, more accommodation facilities, more trainers, amongst other requirements. Premasree has been instrumental in helping visually impaired members of the society stand on their feet. Students are admitted for no fee, and they aren't charged for making use of the residential facilities. With further plans for expansion to help more children out, Premasree has been facing roadblocks in gathering the funds required for the same. They now turn to you for help. With a small contribution from you, Premasree can continue doing exceptional work – and more children like Antara and Mofizul can live the life they deserve to lead.