Three Years Ago He Started A Free Tuition To Help Kids , Today He Runs Three Free Schools For The Poor

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Would you believe that children are capable of managing themselves with integrity in a school? Not just young children but children who come from impoverished backgrounds, where every rupee is hard to come by will be honest and won’t take advantage of a situation where children can take anything from the school store and place the cost in the cash box nearby. Would you believe that such a thing can happen? Dev Kumar Verma has made this a reality in his school Pathshala.

Honesty Shop in the school

As of today, Dev and his team run two schools, one in Katras and the other one, in Bhagabasti, Jharkhand. The school in Bhagabasti was opened on 19 Feb 2018 and has already got 200 registrations and 60 admissions. To build the first school, Dev used his ancestral house and 40% of his salary. For the second school, he took the help of a crowdfunding website to raise Rs.6 lakh and built it in 3 months. Both the schools are located in coal belt areas where the children do not go to school since they cannot afford the fees.

The second school which was opened on 19 th Feb

How did the Pathshala begin?

Dev Kumar Verma was once attending an election duty in his village Katras, Dhanbad the venue for the election was a government school. In the desk were some leave letters written by nine and ten standard kids. He was shocked to find many spelling mistakes in the leave letters. Further, what shocked him more was the teachers accepting the leave letters without asking the students to correct the errors. In spite of taking up the matter to the CM, no concrete steps were taken by the government to address the issue. The sad situation of education in the school drove him to take start Pathshala school.

It was then that he and his wife Priyanka Verma decided to do something concrete to address the issue in their own capacity. Children need better learning, responsibility, values and independence. This is the moto with which Dev Kumar Verma started a tuition point for kids in his ancestral home which quickly became a full-fledged school, Pathshala for children up to class 5 as support from kids, parents and friends poured in. He converted his ancestral home into the school and soon turned it into an English-medium school.

Pathshala has all basic facilities such as dedicated teachers, separate toilets for girls and boys, a playground and water connection. He has also arranged auto- rickshaws for students residing in far- off places. He feels that even the poorest of poor should have access to good educational facilities which are at par with the ones in the big metros without having to pay any fees.

Mineral water facility for the students.

When Efforts For Good spoke to Dev Kumar, he said “ We thought, if we are able to make a difference even for a single student that is enough for us. What began as a small tuition point in 2014 became a full-fledged school by Mar 2015.” Dev felt this need all the more because he came from an impoverished background. He saw the struggles his father as a labourer needed to undergo to educate him. He thus wants children and their parents to not go through the battle that he endured in his life.

He wanted to extend the support he got from his uncle in pursuing his studies to all other kids in his village, to begin with. He thinks if he charges children fees even if it is a nominal amount then he won’t be very different than other private players in the market. It’s exploitative in his opinion. His desire to give back to the society to uplift the people is immense which is why almost 35-40% of his salary goes towards this school.

A classroom in the Pathshala

While the financial aspect takes care of one dimension of the problem, there is another crucial aspect that Dev believes that practical examples, role models in the society, attractive teaching through excellent storytelling are the ways forward for good teaching. He strongly believes that this is extremely crucial because he felt a void in his school life and longed for it when he was growing up.

Inculcating values among the children

Good teaching is essential to ensure kids imbibe the educational content as well as values.   To inculcate honesty in kids, Dev made brand new school essentials at 20% of the original price in the stationary shop. The name of this store is ‘Honesty shop’. Kids need to take the required stationary and pay the cost of the book into the box by themselves. In the beginning, Dev found that few kids are taking two pencils but putting the price of 1 pencil only in the cash box. They then started teaching what honesty is all about vigorously in the classrooms. They slowly started seeing the transformation. Now every student puts exact amount in the cash box. They also found that these results are more long lasting as there have been instances where children have requested their parents to not fight for money which is fleeting.

A student putting money in the cashbox in the honesty shop.

More and more children are now want to come to pathshala since kids are now doing well in competitions which include arts & crafts, science competitions, elocutions etc., The Parents are more than elated to see their children getting English education for free, which they would not have been able to afford otherwise.“I am happy to see my son Mohit learning Englishhe is teaching English alphabets to his friends” said Saraswati Devi, a household worker who clean the houses.

The school faces stiff competition from other established schools which try to lure children away by promising no fees but later on insisting kids pay fees. When kids were not able to pay fees they drop out of that private school. Dev reaches out to those students and assures them that they can join his school again.

Efforts For Good community applauds the tiresome efforts which Dev puts in educating these children from the underprivileged sections of the society. He is an inspiration for many of us.

For more details, visit Pathshala’s Facebook page or you can write to Dev Kumar Verma at [email protected]

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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families, 75000+ meals served, 150+ ration kits and sanitary pads distributed

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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