The unending chirping of birds greets visitors at the government lower primary school in Ambedkar Nagar in Belagavi district, Karnataka. Sparrows have built their nests in the plastic pipes put up by the school to welcome the birds. A man in T-shirt and jeans, who is working with carpenters gets up and greet visitors. He is from Gadag district. He stayed back in the village during the Covid-19 lockdown and has been working to develop the school. He has used the extended lockdown to crowd-fund development of his school. This Karnataka Headmaster did not go home, stayed back and Transformed school.
Raised Fund over Rs.18.75 lakh during the lockdown
He and his friends have raised over Rs 18.75 lakh. The money came from well-wishers and philanthropists, following appeals on social media and through word-of-mouth. He and his team of students and parents have taken up several projects. The most important one was to double the size of the school premises.
He wants to set up a full-fledged library
The school was built on a 10-gunta plot in a predominantly Dalit neighbourhood. Mr Madiwalar decided to buy another patch of 10 guntas. The premises now has a full-fledged language laboratory, named in honour of writer Shivaram Karanth. Mr Madiwalar, a Kendra Sahitya Akademi young poet award winner, wants to set up a full-fledged library, an online database and a multi-media projector to help children learn multiple languages.
During the lock down they totally transformed the school
“We have facilities to install around 20 computers. We have sent out requests to friends and well-wishers to donate new or used computers. Some people have promised help,” he says. The old school building has been cleaned up and repainted. The walls have paintings depicting landscapes, birds, flowers, fruits and animals. Apart from illustrations based on subjects in text books.
Most of them were painted by Mr Madiwalar. “I have not only painted the walls, but also the windows, doors and grills,” he says. The school floor has been covered with tiles. The school ground has been levelled and made fit for children to play. The power supply was erratic due to outdated equipment and wiring. All this was changed. Now, the school has now lights and ceiling fans.
Madiwalar had plans to develop the school for many years
He had plans to develop the school for many years, but they began taking share only after discussions with some friends and donors. He managed to raise some funds through appeals on social media. Some friends of friends pitched in. He also got from strangers. With the funds they raised, they not only bought some land, but also built the language laboratory. The land was bought in the name of the government of Karnataka.
Salute to Mr Madiwalar productive thinking and work
While most teachers have found the lockdown boring, some left the place of their posting and returned to their home towns. But Mr Madiwalar has shown that productive work is possible even in difficult circumstances. Mr Madiwalar says that our aim is not just to teach them to read and write. We should make sure that they do not miss the simple joys of childhood. Coming to school should be joyful experience to them.