Fewpal
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What were the difficulties that Babar Ali initially faced in his efforts to teach the poor/underprivileged children of his neighbourhood? How were they overcome?

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Though there were many schools in the village which provided free education to the children of the village, many families were unable to send their children to school because they were so poor that they could not afford to pay for books, uniforms, etc. Moreover, they sent their children to work. Their children did many small jobs and earned money to add to the family income.

Getting these children to school was a challenging task. The second problem was of having a proper place to conduct the classes. Babar Ali had to make do with a dilapidated structure covered in half-torn posters, where, in the front yard, rows of 800 poor, underprivileged kids sit under the open, blue sky and learn free. His father supported his venture initially with his own funds. But 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. Later, with the help of his friends in the administration, the school started getting rice from the government ‘ stock. Even women were not lagging behind in lending a helping hand. A lady by name Tulu Rani Hazra, a fishmonger by profession, played the role of an educationalist in the afternoons. She went around the villages and brought back students who had stopped attending school. Later, the West Bengal State Government gave government recognition to the school. This enabled students from Babar’s primary school to join local high schools after grade VIII.

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