Smiles & School desks in Rudraprayag

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This Children’s Day brought  renewed hope to the children of Rudraprayag District in Uttarakhand, the region which saw such colossal destruction due to heavy rains and flash floods last June.

In the presence of Kedarnath MLA Shaila Rani Rawat, three spanking new schools, rebuilt by the Rotary Uttarakhand Disaster Relief Trust, were handed over to the school management committees. Thanks to their premises, the primary school children at the Kyunja, Chamoli and Baniyadi areas in Rudraprayag district will no longer have to sit on the ground outside their battered schools, braving rain, biting cold of winter or the scorching sharp summer sun.

After witnessing nature’s fury and cracking and crumbling under the impact of the heavy rains, the Rotary schools have been designed by the Central Building Research Institute in Roorkee and approved by the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan department of Uttarakhand. They are now equipped to withstand earthquake tremors as well as incessant rains and landslides that dog the Garhwal hills.

Rudraprayag MLA Shaila Rani Rawat at the handing over ceremony of the Chamoli school.
Rudraprayag MLA Shaila Rani Rawat at the handing over ceremony of the Chamoli school.

At this event, Rotary was represented by Past RI Director Yash Das, who heads this relief and rebuilding mission (for more details see Rotary News, November 2014), ­District 3080 Governor Colonel Dilip ­Patnaik, DGE David Hilton, IPDG Rakesh Agarwal, PDG Shaju Peter, Past President and Assistant Governor Sangeet Sharma, Past President D C Bansal.

At the handing over event, Shaila Rani Rawat thanked Rotary for this difficult project that involved rebuilding schools in the remote villages of Rudraprayag. The principal of the Chamoli Primary School turned emotional and broke down while expressing her gratitude to the Rotarians “who have come in the form of God to provide such fine new school buildings for our students. In my 16 years association with the Chamoli school, first as teacher and now principal, I believe this new school building has been the biggest gift in my life.”

The sorry fact is that in many remote areas in India, children study in schools with minimal facilities.  She added that not even in her wildest dreams had she ever imagined that her school children would get school desks and benches to sit on. “Now they will be able to receive their education in a dignified and comfortable way.”

Rotarians, accompanied by their spouses, distributed biscuits and wafers to the children, who later presented a cultural programme.

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