Barun Kumar Pradhan may be a farmer, but for the people in his village in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, he is no ordinary man. Through a free residential school, Pradhan has been able to provide close to 30 visually-challenged children an education which they otherwise would not have had access to. Established in 2014, the school, called Netrahin Bal Vidya Mandir (NBVM), located in Amlidih village has been a beacon of hope for the children who, as per a PTI report, belong mostly to destitute families.
It’s not just an education and sports that they have access too at the school, but they also receive vocational training to develop life skills, empowering them and making them independent individuals. “I don’t want any blind children to beg on the streets and get exploited. I want them to make them self-reliant and have a bright future,” stated Pradhan whose 19-year-old daughter Himani holds the position of the school’s headmaster. “NBVM educated the children through Braille and also helps them develop various life skills that can make them self-dependent,” stated Himani.
The school has also employed five visually-impaired teachers, and despite not having any financial support from the local or state government, Pradhan sees a bright future for the school and expects the number of students and facilities to grow. “We are expecting the strength to reach 60 in this new academic session as we are being approached by many people in and around the region,” he commented.
As per Time of India’s report, it is with the help of like-minded people that Pradhan was able to set up and run the special school which has transformed the lives of children, and it was all inspired by Pradhan’s nephew who is visually-challenged. “I never imagined that I would ever go to school. I want to become a teacher and spread the light of education in backward areas,” stated sixth-grader Ajay Mehar. Pradhan has been lauded by his community, among many others, for his incredible work, and he stands as a prime example of how one man’s effort can positively alter the lives of so many others.
Representational feature image courtesy of Britannica Kids