Our CSR team recently visited two schools in Latehar, Jharkhand - a state in eastern India - attended by children from tribal communities. The schools are in a rural area with a fairly low population density and insufficient qualified teachers. Also, teachers there tend to come from similar backgrounds, and seldom have any opportunity either to pursue something different or explore the world beyond their own village and community.
Together with Amit Raj Sinha, MD and CEO of Sigachi Industries Pvt Ltd and Kalki Yasas, Senior Director of SalesForce, the CSR team sought to make a positive difference and help broaden the perspective of some of these teachers. All involved had felt that it would be beneficial and empowering for them to venture outside Jharkhand and experience different cultures, meet new people and generally expand horizons, and we were delighted to be able to arrange this.
One of the teachers wrote a very kind thank-you note, as follows:
“It is with immense joy and gratitude that I write the following lines. Due to your support, we were privileged to have made an educational tour to Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. We could never imagine travelling that far and learning so much about different cultures, people, food and lifestyles. Those seven days proved to be a lifetime full of memories and experiences. Our worldview has widened.
In Kerala we saw large cargo ships for the first time and travelled by boat, train and air. We saw beautiful places, such as beaches, hills, valleys, coffee gardens, tea gardens, clean roads, rubber estates, cashew gardens, and areca nut and pepper plantations. It was great to see towns without traffic jams and with clean trains and clean railway and bus stations. We also saw fishing harbours and forts built by the Europeans and some science centres and museums, too.
In Kerala we observed that the sun goes down pretty late, and most of the people we met were educated, tolerant and helpful. The government schools were functioning well and it was a pleasure to see the efficient transport system. The public hospital facilities were impressive, and we also managed to see advanced agricultural systems, and were surprised to see people inhabiting steep slopes and yet able to cultivate various plantations to make a living.
We learned how coffee, tea and rubber are cultivated and processed, and observed people using Ayurvedic medications, which was new to us as well. We enjoyed seeing coconut gardens and backwaters and eating the local cuisine. The list of new experiences we’ve had is endless and truly unforgettable.
Four memorable days in Kerala passed in a jiffy, and before we knew it we were at Bangalore Airport and onward to Ranchi, Jharkhand. The whole experience is still vivid in our memories. We have been touched by the love and care we received from our hosts and well-wishers.
We will pass on the knowledge we gained to our students as well. As teachers from more remote and tribal communities, we are infinitely grateful to you for the experience. Your kindness has energised us to commit ourselves to the service of poor students who need help and education."