Parijat Academy, is located in an area comprising of about ten tribal villages in Assam, North East India and where access to schools is very limited. Uttam Teron has been successful in starting a small scale school to instill the value of education among the children. Uttam sees educating the underprivileged children in the neighborhood as a first step in helping the community. He and his wife also hope to start a weaving program for women and some vocational training activities.
Uttam Teron, who graduated in 1999 from a city college, was already an active member of the Guwahati Zilla Moina Parijat, a local group working with children, giving them training in leadership, music, physical education etc. “I was training kids anyway and decided to set up a school at home to take children around my village, under my wings.” In 2003, Parijat Academy was born. The four-room school had a tin roof and bamboo walls. Uttam had saved Rs 800 from the fees he received after giving tuition to a few students outside his village. With this amount he got a pair of desks and benches made by a village carpenter. The school was ready to enroll students from nursery to Class In 2005 Parijat Academy had 41 students between three to seven years of age. Initially, the parents were reluctant to send their children. They would ask: “What would they gain by attending school?” Our persistence paid off and then, “We had no seat to enroll more than what we have,” says Uttam.. If that sounds exclusionary, consider this: the school provides free education for all.
Though support from local, interstate, international donors, the school has grown from 4 students to 504. With 60 students now residing at the school. These students come from the remote villages of the Garbhanga Forest.
What does Uttam need the most? “We need
(2) funds to pay salaries to the teachers
(3) school uniforms
(4) textbooks and bags
(5) milk for the undernourished students
(6) medical check- ups and treatment for kids suffering from various diseases.” Tuberculosis, skin diseases and jaundice, he says, are the common illnesses which the kids suffer from. “Uttam is working very hard, but we require support.