Little Drops Make The Ocean
A young IIT graduate is teaching hope to a remote river island in Assam
There is a story about an adamant little hummingbird. It did its best to put out a huge jungle fire by filling its tiny beak with water and dropping it on the fire indefatigably while bigger animals stood by, helpless. This is the story about a young man from Satara, Maharashtra, who hopes to make a difference in the lives of the young children of a remote river island in Assam. Meet Bipin Dhane, a post-graduate from IIT Kharagpur, who runs a primary school for the children of the indigenous Missing tribe at Kulamua village in Majuli.
“WE HAVE A PROGRAMME CALLED WHOLE SCHOOL TRANSFORMATION WHERE WE TRY TO TRANSFORM GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS. RIGHT NOW, WE ARE WORKING WITH FOUR PRIVATE AND SIX GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS. WE HOPE TO REACH 100 GOVERNMENT SCHOOLS IN THE COMING YEARS.”Bipin Dhane Founder, The Hummingbird School
In college, he realized that working in the corporate world was not for him. In 2015, he quit his job and joined one of his friends at flood-prone Majuli, teaching mathematics at a school. Once, he visited the nearby village of Kulamua with his colleague where the villagers shared with them their problems of lack of proper roads, schools, and healthcare. “They asked if we could open a school,” says Dhane. “They said they would help us with everything. All the people came, bringing wood and bamboo. Someone donated the land. For three months, we worked day and night and built the school and a hostel.” In January 2017, The Hummingbird School was set up in Kulamua. What started with 70 students, including 20 odd hostellers, and 5 teachers, has grown into a school of 240 students, and 15 teachers; 140 students receive education for free and the rest pay a nominal fee of INR 250 per month. The hostel facility is completely free.
Teachers are picked from the community so that they can lead the school in the future. Experienced volunteer teachers from outside are also invited to teach. “We’ll get an affiliation from the Assam Board but right now we don’t have any fixed curriculum,” says Dhane. The students are taught essential life skills, traditional bamboo craft, dance, music, theatre, drama, self-defense, and football, besides Missing folk storytelling, integrated farming and traditional skills for dealing with the annual floods.
The school aspires to be a model school for the transformation of the marginalized tribal community. “We have a programme called whole school transformation where we try to transform government schools,” says Dhane. “We are working with four private and six government schools. We hope to reach 100 government schools in the coming years.” The school grows most of its food. But it requires money for basic necessities like clothes and medical care. It has been trying to raise money through eco-tourism. “Nurture your conscience,” says Bipin. The story of the hummingbird inspired him to do whatever he can. “I don’t have to change the world. I don’t have to save the world. I am doing the best I can,” shares Dhane.
Give the gift of education to The Hummingbird School students by visiting the link: https://ayang.org.in/donate
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