‘Had to Leave School but Won’t Leave Any Child Behind’: A Porter in Odisha Teaches Kids for Free
Odisha-based Ch Nageshu Patro left school due to financial constraints. Eventually, he became a night porter with Indian Railways. In the pandemic, he used his savings to tutor underprivileged students for free, to prevent them from experiencing the challenges he faced.
Ch Nageshu Patro, from Odisha’s Ganjam district, was forced to quit school as his parents could not afford the fees. An avid reader and a passionate person, Nageshu was heartbroken and determined to change his fate. He started working on odd jobs at the age of 16 years.
“I got a job in a factory in Surat and had to leave behind everything including my home and dreams. The job paid me Rs 1,500 from which I would send some money home and use the rest for sustaining myself,” he says.
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Nageshu longed to be near home and spent a few more years working at a Hyderabad shopping mall before finally returning to his hometown. In 2011, his brother informed him of a job opening in the Indian Railways, where he landed a job as a porter.
“After years of struggle, when I was able to have a stable job as a porter, I was sure I wanted to help people like me,” he says.
So even while working and supporting his family, Nageshu kept putting money aside for his future. And in 2020, when the pandemic hit, Nageshu was left without a job like most others. It was then that he noticed how most underprivileged children in his neighbourhood were dropping out of school. He decided to use his savings and start a free coaching class for these children.
So far, ‘Nageshu Sir’ has taught hundreds of students from Classes 6 to 12 for free. Currently, he teaches a batch of 70 students in his coaching class.
“A lot of friends and family tell me how this coaching centre is like a well that is draining my resources. They say ‘Bas ab ho gaya’ (you should close the centre now). But then I think of how this would affect the kids and my resolve strengthens. I will keep on going and ensure that no kids are left behind,” he says.
Watch this video to learn more about Nageshu and his mission:
Edited by Pranita Bhat
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