This is a story of a 9-year-old boy with a determination and compassion that many grown-ups lack. Meet Babar Ali, now a 21-year-old young man and a headmaster of the school that he started when he was 9. At present, his school that operated under a small shed at the backyard of his home has 800 students and soon the school will get a proper building.
The inspiring story began when Babar, a resident of Murshidabad in West Bengal, was 9-year-old and his father enrolled him in a proper school which is 10 Km away from his village. Every day while returning from school, Babar used to see children of his own age and younger doing odd jobs and not getting the opportunity to get the formal education.
This made him think of starting his own school where education will be free right in the backyard of his home. To begin with, there were no essential supplies to start teaching, so he made a blackboard from terracotta tiles, used newspapers as the reading materials for students, and borrowed chalks from his school.
Soon, Babar’s determination started showing results and the number of his students started growing. Though initially his father was worried as Babar was too young and this school might make him neglect his own studies but Babar did know what he was doing. So, his father also allowed him to run his school.
In fact, from preventing his students from leaving the school mid-way and dropping education, Babar also bought sweets and toffees for his students with the little money that his father used to give him. In his own words,
I would organize music and dance competitions. We would decorate the place with flowers and I would be the judge. Essentially, whatever I saw and learned in school I would replicate that here.
But, the study essentials like books, pencils, and other stuff were still missing from the school. Babar devised a solution for that too. He went to parents and guardians of his own school and collected rice to sell and used the money to buy alphabet books for his students. This was just the beginning and very soon Babar Ali started receiving help from his own family as well as local authorities that encouraged the boy to carry on with his initiative.
This was 2002 and now in 2016, Babar Ali is a headmaster of his own school and providing education to 800 underprivileged kids.
Hats off to this young man’s determination.
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All Images Courtesy: Sanjukta Basu, Facebook