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He Started A Classroom In A Cowshed With Rs.800,Today He Teaches 500 Students For Free

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How often do we come across change makers who really want to bring a huge difference in the society? It is pretty evident there are only a few who foresee and get things done. Uttam Teron, an unsung personality from Pamohi, a tribal-dominated village in Guwahati, took upon himself to educate the illiterate and uneducated lot from the village.

There is nothing you cannot achieve when you have oodles of passion for a particular thing. This worked in the case of Uttam Teron. Teaching was his call and henceforth, in the year 2003 he set-up Parijat Academy at a cowshed with a mere sum of       Rs 800 and began with the first four children.

Basic education is very important in Parijat Academy 

Uttsam used to teach those children playfully which would arouse the curiosity in them. He asked kids to make toys with the help of mud and clay and made the classes enjoyable.

He worked on the basics of those little kids through songbooks and taught them basic Hindi, Assamese, and English lexicons within one hour of divided scheduled classes.

Parijat Academy

In the next three years, 32 more kids joined the academy because parents saw the kids improving at a faster rate. “Basic things are very important for the kids. We can blend the minds in a different way if we teach them playfully,” Uttam says in a hushed tone.

He says he chose the name ‘Parijat’ because the word means a beautiful flower that blooms in heaven and he believes children are like flowers; they can’t comprehend what’s good and bad. And academy was added later on to make the parents feel they were sending their children to an English medium school because that’s what made them elated.

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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families

Initially, Uttam had to beseech people for benches, pencils, old bags, and books for the children.Tribal parents are ignorant of their children’s education because they can’t afford even the very basic stationary items, says Uttam in a concerned tone. At first, the parents were very sceptical of sending their kids to the academy but his focus towards teaching the illiterates never turned him down.

Despite all the odds and ups and downs, the hurdles were still there. Uttam’s parents were not supportive. They always had this question as to why their son was doing all this for free. He recalls asking for money from his parents everytime he went to the market. He says he does not like teaching, but he started Parijat Academy because he couldn’t see the children wasting their time lazing around in the fields instead of studying. “I don’t do this for money. I am doing this because my hearts says so.” Uttam says this, sternly.

Experiences that made the intention stronger

It was until 2005 when Uttam Teron met a Japanese tourist on his trip to Bodhgaya and things suddenly revamped. From the tourist he learnt how to send emails and sent the first-ever mail to an organisation asking for second-hand clothes and books for the 32 kids.

Parijat Academy

“After a month I received a mail that said that the organisation has parcelled 105 kgs of books and clothes in the name of Parijat Academy and Rs 32,000 in my name. I never expected this kind of help and it was huge and unbelievable for me and that’s what made my intention stronger. Soon enough, the school uniform was ready for the 32 kids,” Uttam exclaims. In the next few days once again an organisation from Singapore donated crayons, drawing sheets, and books for the students.

The same year a photojournalist visited Parijat Academy and within the next few days Uttam was featured in the English daily from Assam that published the story under the headline, “Teron needs help for his 32 children”. People got in touch and started donating and this opened the closed doors for Uttam.

What Parijat Academy is today

The Academy has classes from Nursery to 10th-grade with total 512 indigent children and 20 plus teachers. Sixty students who are from the remotest area of the village where everyone is deprived of even basic requirements; they are given everything for free. The academy provides free accommodation to them because it’s not possible for them to walk all the way up to forty kilometres to attend the classes, shares Uttam. The academy also offers training on computers. There are library facilities, sewing lessons, sports, dance, and much more.

Parijat Academy

“What’s important for the students is skills,” Uttam says, “we even send our students to Nation youth festivals because that way they will see and learn new things and their mind will broaden.”

Today Sankar Bongjang the Garbhanga village boy has brought happiness to Parijat family. Sankar has got job appointment…

Posted by Parijat Academy on Friday, January 12, 2018

There are regular activities like inter-school girls and boys football and dance activities. Parijat Academy also organises trekking and outings for the students. Girls are taught sewing, ready-made garment making including awareness on menstrual hygiene and sanitation. Uttam’s family now supports him. His wife Aimoni Tumung has always been with him throughout these years of struggle and played a vital role in dusting off illiteracy.

NASA astronaut Michale Fincke visited the academy and lauded the noble and extraordinary work by Uttam Teron and now he’s a part of it. In 2011, Uttam was also awarded the CNN IBN Real Heroes Award for his contribution to society.

“Our greatest challenge until around now has been fundraising because funds from different countries are not enough to sustain. Sometimes we do not pay the teachers for two to three months,” says Uttam. Currently, we are looking out for hundred or fifty potential donors who can donate a sum of thousand rupees per month on a regular basis.

Address: Parijat Academy, Pamohi, P.O. Garchuk, Guwahati-781035, Assam.; Email: [email protected]

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
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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.
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2,00,000 meals served
Emergency funds sent to 350 families

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