It takes a very tender heart to think of the future of little children. And when that heart belongs to a 43-year-old rough and tough sub-inspector of the J&K police, who is devoting much time to setting up nursery schools for kids, it is even more special.
The people of Shara, in rural Ladakh, did not send their children to school till the age of seven or later. The harsh terrain and cold weather were not conducive to little kids being outdoors or travelling long distances to go to school. But a cop named Tsewang Dorjey changed their lives. He started an English medium nursery school, the Social and Educational Welfare Association (SEWA) Shara Nursery School, which prepares young kids to enter good mainstream schools when they come of age.
Thanks to his intervention, some children from Shara have been admitted to the best schools in Kashmir.
After finishing his graduation in science from Jammu, Tsewang came back to his roots in Shara to work with a local NGO as a Rural Development Officer. He worked with the NGO for five years before joining J&K police. However, the poor state of education in his village kept troubling him.
“The climatic condition in Shara is really bad and challenging. Children have been missing out on their golden period of learning due to this. I feel education is a very important part of one’s life and everyone should have access to it in spite of their location,” says Tsewang.
Set up in 2007, this nursery school caters to over 30 students. The syllabus includes basic subjects like English, Hindi, Maths, etc. The school also has a small playground.
The school, which was started by Dorjey with his personal savings, charges nominal fees and is run mostly with the help of donations by friends and family. The lack of resources is proving hard to overcome.
He has also rented out his tractor, which he used for farming earlier, to get more funds for his school.
“I want to build an atmosphere where there are good resources and facilities for kids. I hope to see these kids join good schools and build a bright future for themselves,” he says.
The school currently has three teachers to take care of all the students. Transport facility is also provided to bring the students to school.
The children in Tsewang’s school can now read and write and solve basic maths problems as early as the age of 4. Parents send children as young as 2 and 3 years old to his school.
“It is sometimes very hard to manage them because they are so young. To discipline them or make them understand anything requires great patience and effort,” he says.
In the future, Tsewang wants to continue his work and replicate this model in other districts of Leh. He also plans to extend his current school up to sixth standard, along with getting a better playground.