Many frontline warriors have been helping others during the COVID-19 pandemic. One such person, Kalyan Mankoti, from India, is committed to education.
Kalyan, who is from Aso village in Uttarakhand’s Bageshwardistrict, used to drive for hours every day, traversing 35 kilometres from Almora town to teach at a junior school in Chanoli village. In continuing his commitment to teaching, Kalyan left behind his comfortable life in Almora town. He relocated to Chanoli village from Almora town with his daughter, when Covid-19 struck India.
He wished to bring education to 75 pupils’ homes. It was not an easy decision for him to transfer from Almora town to Chanolivillage. Due to precautions taken during the pandemic, his travel was fully prohibited, attracting police investigation.
However, his genuineness and desire to assist his students in continuing their education during the lockdown convinced the authorities to work with him.
Kalyan was required to fill out papers and meet with the District Magistrate. The health department was also called, and the society was put in trust.
His initiative was even brought to the attention of the education department. With suitable facilities for masks, medicine, and sanitisation, he set out on his trip to make proper education available to pupils during the pandemic. He began teaching a small group of kids by following COVID-19 SOPs.
Another challenge that Kalyan had to overcome was the weather. He says, “Once on a day when it was raining, it was hard to teach the children in the field, which had become wet. So the kids sat on the roof of a vacant house and began studying immediately when the rain stopped. Ever since then, the roof has been our school every time it rains. The owner of the property was more than glad to help them when he learned the roof of his house had become a classroom. “
Kalyan enlisted the assistance of others to support him in his endeavour. Along with his daughter, he is aided by his former pupils who are currently enrolled in various courses at the institution. Some of the former pupils are from the Chanolivillage. The rest come and reside in the community for a few days at a time. The youngsters learn science, music, social science, languages, and other subjects. They are also given singing and paper and mud painting lessons. Himani, one of Kalyan’s oldest students, has also taught the youngsters about plants and vegetation while engaging them in numerous interesting scientific experiments and activities.
Along with Himani, Gargi, Riya, Bhuvan Kandpal, Bhupender, Ojaswi, Sachin, Anurag, Saurabh, Pushpa, and Deepa have all worked hard to support Kalyan’s educational endeavour. Even the village elders play a role in interacting with the youngsters and assisting them with their holistic education.
Revti Devi taught the children how to present themselves in public through her stories, and Tara Devi shared recipes for various mountain foods with them. Bhupal Singh, another villager, on the other hand, taught the children about the milk industry and how to use a lactometer.
Kalyan said that the youngsters are also taught how to create a small business utilising the milk and vegetables cultivated in the community.
Bhupal Singh says this project gave them the chance to get a close understanding of the children.
The kids learn a lot from each other and Kalyan Mankoti’s effort today symbolises integrity and brings together various people to achieve a common purpose.