Tragic death of two children motivates a community to build a new school

The tragic death of two girls was the catalyst for transformation in a village in Uttar Pradesh. Watch how community joined forces with VV to demand a school in their village, under RTE Act, 2005.  

When the brand new government school was inaugurated in a village of Uttar Pradesh, the residents were torn between being happy and sad. While the school was the result of a community’s collective efforts, the reason for their motivation was the tragic death of two young girls from the village.

In 2010 a boat carrying seventeen children capsized, resulting in the death of two girls. For those children, the boat ride had become a usual route from their houses in Khullaspur to their school four kilometres away in Bhitridih, Uttar Pradesh. That day, the residents of Khullaspur decided that they would no longer send their children to school until a building was constructed in their own neighbourhood.

Gayatri Devi, our community correspondent in Uttar Pradesh witnessed the fear creeping of safety and concern for education amongst the parents and decided to use community media to motivate the community. “Back then I didn’t know I would help them, but I was certain that I wanted to help them realise their dream of having a school in the village. I have, myself, have fought hard for my education, and I didn’t want another generation to face the same challenges,” says Gayatri.

The community galvanised support behind Gayatri and the headman and has a school to show for it. Her video documentation of the issue helped the motivate the residents and the village head to approach the problem through the right legal approach. After the initial video report made in 2013 Gayatri organised a community meeting with the village head and the officers from the Block Development Office. Together with the community, she approached the Block Education Officer of the district to get funds sanctioned for a building. They found that a proper survey needed to be done and land allocated.

More than a year after Gayatri’s motivation, the school was finally built with a budget of INR 6.5 Lakhs. Today, three teachers serve the needs of eighty students and parents breath a sigh of relief when their children leave for school.

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