Fertile Education at Barren Field

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world'

Nelson Mandela

T he Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), Gujarat, India is renowned for its picturesque white landscapes, salt manufacturing and is frequented by tourists and photography lovers. However, the life in Kutch is not easy as the temperatures in summer can touch 48° Celsius and in winters can drop as very low. Try to picture an elementary school in the midst of this barren landscape – this is exactly what you will find as you cross Kharaghoda Village and head towards the Little Run of Kutch (LRK) where 17 such schools are operating with bare minimum facilities for children in the area. There are no benches to sit, drinking water is scarce and as you can see, there is no electricity either.

These small schools, which were managed by Gantar, a local NGO in the past are now under the Gujarat government’s ‘Sarva Siksha Abhiyan’, which ensures that children get free education. To monitor that children are benefiting from this initiative, government officials check schools’ attendance registers on weekly basis. However, children still have to walk large distances to reach their schools. Again, finding a qualified teaching staff is a challenge as there are few who want to take up teaching in these remote areas at a meagre salary of Rs 4500 per month. Still, neither the extreme temperatures, nor the lack of facilities is holding back its 435 students – which is something that must interest those who visit the Little Rann of Kutch. We admire the spirit of children of LRK who are braving all odds to study and carve out a better future for themselves with the priceless support of teachers and Sarva Siksha Abhiyan officers.

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