British top cop helps schools in Punjab

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(Seham) Jalandhar, Feb.29 : While visiting Seham Village along with his Indian friend Balbir Singh Kang, Dave Gee might have never anticipated that his next six years would be devoted to school kids.

Gee, a former top cop of Derbyshire County in England, was utterly shocked during a leisurely walk around Seham, 13 kilometers from Jalandhar, to notice the plight of students attending a government run school. It was in a pathetic state, as it lacked even the basic infrastructure.

Shocked by the schoolchildren's plight, Gee and Kang (the Indian friend) founded National Youth and Education Development Organisation (Punjab), a non government organization (NGO) to mobilise funds for the school at Seham and elsewhere in Punjab.

Dave recalled that during his first visit, the school lacked basis infrastructure like seats for students.

Today, his serious concerned has proved beneficial for the school, as children have been provided with the basic and much-needed-facilities through funds collected from National Youth and Education Development Organisation (NYEDO) in India as well as abroad.

"At the moment, we have more teachers because we fund some teachers as well. The main thing is that the children are going to school rather than going to the fields. We are helping them to get better education. So, we are happy with the progress," said Dave Gee, founder NYEDO (Punjab) and former chief of Criminal Investigation, Derbyshire County Police, UK.

"As far as funds are concerned, I have arranged for them all on my own. Moreover, I have raised funds in England and asked for help from some of my friends. So it's going great," Gee added.

Among the associates and volunteers of NYEDO (Punjab) actively involved in the reformation of schools in Punjab are the headmistress of Speedwell Infant School in Derbyshire, Rowena Teather, the Assistant Head Teacher of Netherthope School, Helen Mcvicar and even two students, Sarah and Katie.

This team of teachers and students has spent almost four weeks teaching the children about the use of English words and their pronunciation.

"Now their education has improved a lot. Some of the teachers come here and taught the children how to speak English. After six years, we are happy to see the progres and the atmosphere here," said Sardool Singh, one of the schoolteachers.

Children are happy to have plenty of fun while they learn.

"We are studying as well as playing in the school. Our teachers are helping us a lot and teaching us well. We have even learnt English from the teachers here and now we want to make our family and village proud of us," said Sandeep Singh, one of the teachers in the school.

Over 40,000 pounds sterling (31,57,150 rupees) have been raised. It includes donation of 2,500 pounds sterling (1,97,315 rupees) by a group of mountaineers who scaled three different peaks in England, Wales and Scotland. These expeditions were undertaken sporting T-shirts with the message: We climb every mountain for Seham.

A sum of 5,000 pounds (3,94,666 rupees) was raised by the students of Netherthorpe High School, which now has a tie-up with Singhpur Doney, the village neighbouring Seham.

Dave Gee raised funds after the Village Panchayat (council) requested him to take control of the school.

Gee informed that two more schools in the surrounding villages of Awanchaharmi and Kang Sahboo are being constructed by NYEDO (Punjab) and these are expected to be functional by March 2008.By Paramjeet

ANI

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