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Babar Ali’s venture to start an afternoon school is a tale of remarkable grit and determination. Elaborate.

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Babar Ali’s school ‘Anand Siksha Niketan’ grew out of a game. When he was nine years old, he used to play ‘school – school’ game with his friends. He would be the teacher and his friends played as students. This game gave him the idea of opening a school itself. Therefore, he began to hold classes in the front yard of his house in 2002. It is a dilapidated concrete structure covered in half-torn posters. Students sit in rows on the ground under the open, blue sky and learn the basics and fundamentals of life.

Once the news of this informal school spread across the village, help began to come from other quarters. Babar’s own teachers, monks at the local Ramakrishna Mission, sympathetic IAS officers, and local police extended their help. Later, when Babar Ali planned to give his students a mid-day meal, his father provided rice from his fields. Then, with the help of his friends in the government, Babar Ali started getting rice from government stock.

Thus, after nine years, today there are 800 students from grade I to VIII studying in his school. The Government of West Bengal has also given its help. It has recognized his school as a formal school like any other school in the neighbourhood and so, his students can now go and join any other high school in the locality after completing class 8 in this school.

The teaching staff of the school is none other than nine student volunteers of Babar Ali’s age, who come and teach in the afternoon after their classes get over. What makes Babar Ali’s school a successful venture is his remarkable grit and determination to make a difference in the lives of the underprivileged children in his locality. We should also note that once the society recognized Babar Ali’s selfless interest in the upliftment of the underprivileged children, they came forward to give him all kinds of help to strengthen his mission.

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