Educating The Poorest Of The Poor

Retired police officer JK Sinha explains why he founded a charity to educate landless peasants’ children in Bihar, India

12/11/2017 5:29:36 PM
written By : Vineeta Thomas Print

Shoshit Seva Sangh (SSS) is the brainchild of the retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer JK Sinha, who did his master’s in history and is an alumnus of Delhi’s famous Stephen’s College. 

Recently, he was visiting Singapore to meet with his family. India Se caught up with him to hear his story of the charity launched in July 2005 to educate the poorest of the poor, the children of the Musahar community in Bihar. 

Traditionally rat-eaters and rat-catchers, the Musahars are landless agricultural labourers. Their population is estimated to be four to five million. Now their children can go to a fully free English medium residential school, Shoshit Samadhan Kendra, founded by the SSS. Starting with only three to four students in 2006, the charity now has more than 400 students in its school which prepares them from upper kindergarten to the plus two examinations conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE) after which they can go to college. SSS chairman JK Sinha shares the inspiring story. 

India Se: What prompted you to start Shoshit Seva Sangh? You were in the IPS before.

JK Sinha: While I was posted as an IPS officer, I was asked to visit a ghetto on the outskirts of a village in Bihar to catch a criminal. As I was searching for the criminal, I saw a blanket and removed it thinking he was hiding under it, but instead I saw a pig. I immediately asked why I was bought to a pigsty and was told this was where the man normally slept. To see a fellow Indian in such a state depressed me and led me to take up this cause.           

India Se: What were some of the challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?

JK Sinha: One of the initial challenges was that the Musahar community themselves were against sending their children to school. They felt a child working on a farm helped them more than sending a child to school. 

India Se: What is the status of Musahars today? Do you think that, with English education and computer training, their youngsters will be able to carve a brighter future for themselves?

JK Sinha: The idea is to impart knowledge to empower them. Education is the sole ladder that will help the Musahars climb the socio-economic platform. This is the only way they can establish themselves. 

India Se: There are many organisations such as yours trying to provide better education and uplift the underprivileged. Do you think enough is being done and the country moving to a brighter future?

JK Sinha:  I believe more can be done in education in the rural areas by the central government. There has to be focus on the quality of education. What I mean by quality is that the children must have exercise books, electricity supply and furniture in classrooms and teachers must come on time regularly. It is important to have micromanagement in schools. Neither the central government nor the state governments focus on the micromanagement of education. As a result, the children come out literate but not educated. Unless one is educated, one cannot move up and go very far.

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