July 26th, 2017
Born in an army household, Rahul Dubey had an inkling to travelling and exploring the world from a very young age. A graduate in mathematics, he took up a rural internship in Rajasthan in 2012 which completely changed his life.
The 21-year-old joined the three-month long internship only to realise that it brought him to a different life path. He began with teaching and interacting with kids in a small village named Karwara in Udaipur district, Rajasthan.
But his parents were unhappy with his decision. They wanted him to pursue his masters and join academia. He had fallen in love with the village charm and decided to stay there for another three-month long stint. He gradually started learning the local language.
By the end of a six-month long stint, he realised villagers liked him quite a lot and he felt at home. He began working with Alfa Education Trust, a grass-root level NGO trying to bring about a change in the educational scenario of the locality. Today, after completing five years in the village, he has made his parents proud. He has successfully completed his Masters Degree in Social Sciences and is running a school as well.
Bringing positive changes
His journey of bringing changes began with forming four youth clubs in the district. These youth clubs would help in empowering the local youth so that they can act community leaders for their respective villages, bringing in changes effectively at the micro level.
When The Logical Indian spoke to Rahul, he said, “the quality of education in the village left me stunned. The children were not getting a proper education and there was a huge gap between the delivery of service when it came to education. The number of dropouts was exorbitantly high. That is when I decided to stay back and do something for the village.”
The first step towards bridging these gaps which he took was to identify the causes of the hindrance. The primary problem was the attitude of the teachers who taught these kids. More often than not, they used to beat the children for not performing well even though the curriculum wasn’t conducive to growth. Due to the lack of proper sanitation facilities in the schools, girls dropped out after primary levels.
To bring about a holistic change in the education structure of these schools, Rahul, along with Alfa Education Trust, opened a primary school for the local children. Within the first few days, over 90 children enrolled themselves. “The concept of the school has been extremely simple. Apart from imparting bookish knowledge, education has been engaging for these children,” Rahul said.
The village spirit academy
With over 120 children in the school, they gradually started developing a space crunch. “Another massive problem was that of getting a place which was comfortable for the children to study and for teachers to teach. It was then that we planned to shift the school. Lokesh Kalal, the founder of Alfa, helped us out with a plot of land,” said Rahul, his voice beaming with confidence.
They decided on building a school for the children which would be comfortable for them even during the scorching months of April and May. After putting in extensive research, Rahul got in touch with a group of architects from Chennai who helped him materialise his dream of setting up a green school.
Funding was also a huge challenge in setting the school. With no intention to take up corporate funding, Rahul organised for crowd funding through an online portal which helped him gather over Rs 4,00,000.
With the help of masons from Chennai and bit of training the local people, the school was successfully set up by June. This green school was made from mud and thatch, using techniques which would help it sustain even during the rainy season.
“I had to face severe backlash from the villagers. No one got the concept of building a school from the unconventional raw materials. Making them understand was gradually being an uphill task,” said Rahul. Now they’ve almost completed building the school and Rahul plans to inaugurate it on Independence Day this year.
The school set up by the Vice-President of Alfa education Trust, Rahul, has not only helped to uplift the education standards in the city but also has helped in generating employment in 10-15 villages in the vicinity. “We have recruited seven teachers and they are from the village itself. They no longer need to leave their state in search of a job. After completion of their studies, they can work in the school now,” added Rahul.
Apart from managing the school, Rahul helps in training the young people as teachers. Upon asking what makes them recruit youngsters as teachers, Rahul said, “Their mindset is a lot different from the old-fangled teachers of the government school. They are not afraid of experimenting with the curriculum and the method of teaching.”
The Logical Indian community applauds the initiatives and the tireless efforts undertaken by Rahul in building a school which is holistically beneficial for underprivileged children. On asking him about his message for the readers, he said, “We need to understand that the youth of the country is a powerhouse of talent. The youth needs to shoulder the responsibility and effectively bring about the change which it wants to see in the society.”
For more information, you can reach out to Rahul at +91 87699 64586
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