When we think of school, we usually imagine a fleet of teachers, classes filled with students, helping staff and more. Now image 50 odd children and 2 teachers for an entire school in a hamlet of Karnataka.
Welcome to Vilankombai where there are only two teachers, Kesavan A (28) and Siva Sakthi S (30), situated near the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve. At 7k salary per month and no such enticing luxury, these educators seem dedicated to their mission. It’s simply their selflessness that inspires them to live in a tribal village and teach kids of 45 illiterate families.
Let alone modern technologies, the children here were absolutely unenlightened before Kesavan A and Siva Sakthi arrived at their village. In fact, apart from their own language (Orali), they don’t understand anything else, hence, teaching and guiding them becomes a comparatively challenging task.
“I was getting good offers. But then came the offer from Vilankombai. These children taught me that teaching is not a profession but a responsibility, which can bring about a positive change. I wish to continue my service here and see my children achieve greater heights,” says Siva Sakthi.
Both the teachers joined this unique school a few years ago when the govt. initiated the National Child Labour Project. Earlier, Kesavan and Sakthi used to commute from their village daily, that was 25km away. But after encountering wild animals and barely surviving their attack a couple of times, they decided to shift bases. They moved to Vilankombai and started living in the school building itself, making home-visits only during the weekends to see their families. However, throughout the lockdown, the teachers stayed back with their students. How did they utilise the extra time in hand? By educating the families about hand hygiene and social distancing measures.
Educators like Kesavan and Sakthi are the driving force of rural education in this country, they definitely need to be acknowledged and supported in their unbiased and selfless journey.
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