At a time when Uttarakhand is dealing with serious migration issues resulting in schools facing shortage of both teachers and students, some young minds are taking initiatives to revive education in the state.
Meet 32-year-old Ashish Dabral, who travels around 720 km (approx 20 hours) during weekends to his village in Uttarakhand from Gurgaon to teach enthusiastic students.
Born and brought up in Timli, Dabral was educated in Uttarakhand. “Unlike in cities, we had limited subjects option and no guidance. Therefore, people have to migrate to other places. Also, the comfort of cities, health facilities and regular jobs are also prompting pahadis to leave their villages,” says Dabral.
After completing a certificate course in Microsoft, Dabral worked in various companies before finally settling down in Gurgaon. “I couldn’t stop thinking about my village all this while. In 1882, my great grandfather started a school called Timli Sanskrit Paathshala that provided Sanskrit, Hindi and English education to hundreds of students. I too wanted to serve the society,” he says.
In 1969, the Government took control of the institution and converted it to a junior high school. “When I was in school, over 100 students were studying there. Now not more than four attend. I felt we need to revive education and bring back our brothers,” he adds.
With his hard earned money and some financial help from relatives, Dabral launched a trust in 2009 and in January 2014, opened Timli Vidyapeeth – a technology centre and primary school with a centre for online services.
“Till now, more than 70 students completed 12 months programme on basic computer education. A year back, we also started a service centre where students provide online services like PAN card, passport or shopping to rural people,” he says.
In March 2015, Dabral launched a school for underprivileged children. At present, 31 students are enrolled. “Children of 16 villages are getting benefit from this initiative. Three teachers fight all odds to pursue their passion for teaching. Some families have, in fact, cancelled their plans of shifting to Kotdwar,” says this manager who got financial support from his present employer, British Telecom.
“I was awarded Rs 50,000 for this initiative. I used this money to build four classrooms.”Besides teaching computer science, Dabral also guides teachers and students of the service centre. In future, he plans to use modern multimedia teaching technology and revive Sanskrit education balancing it with the latest technology. He will also set-up free health centre for senior citizens.
Dabral’s determination to bring education to Timli has certainly set an example for others. His company has nominated him for an award ceremony to be held in London on February this year.
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