Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Meet the Changemaker, Lalita : Priyanka Kaushik

Meet the Changemaker

Lalita is one of our edu-leaders who is married. Her inevitable spark to teach children is what motivated her to join the fellowship. As part of her fellowship, she teaches at the Prathmik Madhya Vidyalaya Vijayanagar, Bariyarpur. Initially, Headmaster Laddu Paswan was reluctant to support her, but her determination made a shift in the headmaster’s behavior. The headmaster noticed Lalita’s punctuality, commitment, innovative ideas, and activity-based teaching style, which impressed him. 

Earlier she didn’t even have a space to teach, but then the headmaster gave her a separate classroom. He has started providing TLMs, chalk, and duster, among other classroom resources, to Lalita. He started praising her in front of other teachers in the school. Another act of the headmaster, which was surprising for many of us, was in place of a print-rich class, he financed BaLA (Building as Learning Aid) for the classroom. BaLA is an innovative concept for qualitative improvement in education; it is used through intervention in school building infrastructure.

BaLA installed in a classroom

She started the culture of preparing class-wise lists of the number of students enrolled, number of students present, and absentees, which she wrote on the headmaster’s office blackboard. That one single blackboard would show every single piece of data about a class. 

Lalita in the headmaster’s office with her initiative of capturing daily attendance of school on a single blackboard

The first quarter of the fellowship was tough for Lalita, as she did not get support from her husband as well, who did not want her to go outside. However, when he came to visit the school, he was happy to see Lalita’s work and he let her continue teaching. The people in the community would also mock her in her initial days for the work she was doing in the fellowship. It was a selfless service for others and she had put her heart into it; she knew that people would not understand. 

When the pandemic was on peak, the community’s perspective changed towards her. She helped them in availing of government services. Now they all respect her. She feels proud when she visits the community today to solve local problems such as filling the forms to apply for the AADHAR card and PAN card, updating information in the bank passbooks, and so on.

In Aug 2021, when her village was submerged in water due to the floods, Lalita shifted to her mother’s place in Begusarai, Bihar. There she reactivated an SHG (self-help group) in which the group members were not working together due to personal issues. She sorted the issue by reaching a mutual consensus and made the SHG functional again. 

She also motivated two school dropouts there to continue their education. i-Saksham financed the education of these girls as they could not afford the admission fee.  

In the future, Lalita wants to open a coaching center for her community’s girls who cannot afford to pay for their education. She is trying to organize the resources needed for this coaching center. 

  Priyanka Kaushik is handling communications at i-Saksham.


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