Remember those childhood days when we would feel all excited on the first day after a long summer vacation to see our school, freshly painted, blackboards spruced up, library stocked up with new books and new play equipment added.
A school should look inviting and warm enough to ignite interest in children to step in and, more importantly, sustain their interest to pursue education, says Amit Marodia, President of RC Siliguri Central, D 3240.
Moradia was instrumental in the club’s recent success in bringing to life the Buddha Bharti Bhuban Mohan Vidyamandir, a government school in Siliguri, that was in a bad shape. “Every morning, on my way to office, as I pass by this school, I would be struck by its pitiful sight, until one fine day, along with Club Secretary Prem Agarwal and Community Service Chair Bikash Agarwal, I met the principal with an offer to help.”
The school has a strength of just 50 students, three of them differently-abled, and six teachers. Its walls were shorn of paint, the compound walls down, and wild weeds growing all over the place.
The school is already receiving enquiries for admission for the next academic year, whereas earlier, getting students was a huge challenge.
The school principal was too happy to cooperate and coordinated with the relevant authorities — the Chairman of Primary Schools Pradeep Bhattacharya and Ward Councillor Kamal Agarwal. The Rotarians formed a committee with club members Pankaj Agarwal, Ajay Goyal, Gopal Agarwal, Pawan Agarwal, Ghanshyam and Deepak Agarwal, and began the renovation work in the first week of October after complying with the necessary formalities.
Soon the school donned a new look with a freshly erected compound wall, the whole building painted in bright blue, flooring redone, library refurbished with books, classrooms done up with green boards, colourful charts and new benches and desks for children. The playground was cleared off the wild growth, new play equipment were added and two toilets and handwash stations constructed with adequate water facility. The Rotarians set up a computer lab to help the children with digital literacy. The renovation cost of ₹5 lakh was pitched in by the members and from the club fund.
The new school was officially inaugurated by the ward councillor on Nov 12; “this was our Children’s Day gift for the students. The excitement and the look of awe in each of their faces is something to be cherished,” says Marodia. It has become “visible at last” as he learnt from the principal that the management is already receiving enquiries for admission for the next academic year, whereas earlier, getting students was a huge challenge.