As part of their livelihoods outside of Jharkhand, migrant workers in the Chatra district have funded an English-medium school in a small village so that their children can get better employment opportunities. The Mansarovar Education Society, launched in 2017 in Chatra's Kade Village, began with just 24 students, and there are currently 217 students enrolled at the school.
Students at the school pay a nominal fee, while orphans and the poor receive free education, books, and transportation. All expenses in other states, including teachers' salaries, transportation, etc., are the labourer's responsibility. Despite its size, the school has its land donated by villagers from the common land bank, and there is a management committee running it along with affiliation to CBSE.
Setting Up The School
According to Sohan Sahu, the leader behind the establishment of the school, said to The New Indian Express that the school's objective is to prevent workers from migrating to Mumbai and other big cities to work as labourer's due to lack of education.
"We wanted to set up a school in the village so that all children could receive a quality education. Every year the school is funded by labourer's who is settled in Mumbai," he said.
After working for 29 years in Mumbai, Sahu has returned permanently to the village to manage the school. "I moved to Mumbai in 1993 and worked there as a labourer before becoming an auto driver", he said.
As Sahu worked in Mumbai for several years, he frequently contemplated the fact that, if he had the chance to study, he would not have moved there to work as a labourer. Instead, he would have preferred to go there as an engineer or doctor, or lawyer and not as a labourer.
After working there, he decided to open an English medium school in the village itself to provide better employment opportunities for the young generation. Many migrants who returned home to celebrate Holi agreed with Sahu's plan and decided to build a school in a village.
"At first, the school had eight classrooms. After we started receiving donations, we decided to build an office building and toilets. The school is free for all," he added.
Contribution By Migrant Workers
Khirodar Sahu, a diamond cutter in Mumbai too, returned to his village to work as a teacher in 2015. "The lack of facilities and poverty in the village prevented me from completing my studies beyond Class 10, so I moved to Mumbai to work as a labourer before becoming a diamond cutter," Khirodar said he had returned permanently to the village to contribute his part as a teacher.
According to Ramesh Kumar, more than Rs 15 lakh has already been invested in the school by migrants and well-off villagers, a government teacher and a member of the school's management committee.
Hemant Kumar Sahu, who owns a photocopy shop in the village and sent his children to the school for the first time, expressed happiness with the quality of education available there. He says,
"I am sending my three children at the school and I am very happy with the quality of education given to the children. In this area, I couldn't have found education of this caliber anywhere else".