Case Study: UTTAM TERON
Born out of a humble household, son of a train driver and a homemaker mother, Uttam Teron belongs to a hamlet called Pamohi, 12 kilometers away from Guwahati. A member of the Karbi tribal community of Assam, Teron was fortunate enough to get educated at Cotton College and Arya Vidyapeeth College in Guwahati. Post the completion of his education, after returning home, Teron noticed that very few children from his village went to schools. There were multiple social, geographic and economic factors that restricted the children from getting educated. Remoteness of the village from Guwahati was one of the causes, and so was the fact that villagers in Pamohi were inherently from poorer households who supported themselves by doing mining activities and agriculture. Most children were seen helping their parents on elds or doing household chores. Teron loved teaching, and to keep himself occupied, he begun tutoring the children of his village. This was also the time when he noticed many of the children faced diculty in reading, and a lot of them also discontinued studies midway. Teron strongly felt that every child should have access to proper education and realized that there was an urgent need of school in his village. All these factors motivated him to start ‘Parijat Academy’ – a school that provided free education and boarding to underprivileged children.
He established Parijat Academy in 2003 by spending his hard earned money of 800 as a tutor, to convert a cowshed into a classroom and four students to begin with. In the initial phases, there were times in the academy when Teron was unable to pay his teachers with salary for long durations. And also securing funds for supporting the students with a classroom-environment and basic educational supplies used to be dicult. Teron still continued to support the academy, even if he had to take loans or favors. And Teron was gifted to have his parents and a few of his friends and well-wishers support him in his cause. Media attention brought about a lot of positive change to Teron’s initiative. Quite a few social welfare organizations and individuals contributed to the academy either nancially or by providing some form of support. Volunteer teachers from India and abroad started approaching Teron to help him run the academy. And many organizations sent the academy old textbooks and stationery for the students. Teron was awarded with the Balipara Foundation Green Guru Award in 2013, for his tremendous initiative towards supporting the underprivileged children receive education.
At present his ‘Academy’ as he likes to callit, provides schooling for 500+ children, out of which an equal or more number of the students are girls. He has also managed to set up a hostel for the students where he houses a proportional number of his students with food accommodation and other basic amenities
He helped more than 500 children receive education in the tribal villages of Assam, including Pamohi,Maghuapara, Deosutal, Garchuk, Mainakhorong, Dhalbama,Nowagaon,Garoghuli, Garbhanga, Ahomgaon,Kotokipara,Chakardo, Pahamjila andNatunGarbhanga. Teron has also introduced the children to computer skills, sewing, art/craft and various other youth programs.
By providing free education to the children of tribal villagers who mainly depend on mining for a living, Teron is providing the future of tribal community members with alternative livelihood options that will promote them to take up well-paid and better jobs.
Teron is assisting in diverting the younger generation away from mining activities and sensitizing them towards nature and environment. He regularly carries out nature treks, organic farming programs and self-sustaining programs with the children. He also collects
school supplies by reusing old books, bags and stationery.