Kosi river tiny victims blessed with new school

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Ranchi, Nov 18: They were devastateded and rendered destitutes by the fury of Kosi river in Bihar. Today, almost after three months, a number of them sought to leave behind their agonising past and begin a fresh life with dreams. The first batch, comprising 22 children of the targetted 100, particularly flood victims from Bihar, arrived this morning to be formally put in Star International School, and were given a warm welcome by school students at the scenic Sidho Kanho park here.

Their faces glowed with subdued enjoyment and disbelief to be received with such welcome as some family members, who came from Madhepura and Saharsha along with them, could not hold back their tears.

Dhaniya, father of Laxmi, heaved a sigh of relief anticipating a bright future for the child, but had to leave her with a heavy heart as the thought of staying away from her crossed his mind.

''What to do... it is all for the children's future... I am ready to put her in school,'' he told UNI here.

The Louis Educational And (Social) Development Society (LEADS), an NGO, has taken up a project - 'Samvedna' - that aims to offer hope to 100 flood victim children in the age group of six to 11 years.

These children would be brought up and imparted education at par with the other students in the Star International School here, LEADS secretary Sanchita Singh said, adding an estimated Rs 30,000 per student would be required for maintenance of each child. ''So far we have identified 22 students after travelling across 21 villages spread over Saharsha and Madhepura,'' she said.

She said it was a tough job for the 'Sampurna Siksha Mission' team to convince the parents or guardians of the children as most of them were reluctant to part with their children.

She said the basic criterion to select a child was that he or she must be a flood victim and either of the parents - the father or mother - must be alive as taking responsibilty of chidren involved legal tangle.

''Each child we identified was taken through proper affidavit,'' she said.

The children would not be put in the mainstream immediately and till March, a bridge course would be imparted to them.

From April, they would be included among the mainstream students depending on their pace of progress.

Many of them even did not understand proper Hindi, she said, indicating a challenging task awaiting the school.

The NGO was now conducting survey in districts like Supaul (the worst hit), Purnia and Araria and as and when the next batch was ready, they would be brought in.

For Praveen, Deepak, Meetali (all from Saharsha) and Asfaq, Abhishek and others (Madhepura), the hope shines through that ''Aane wale din haseen Honge'' (better days awating us), but nerve of grit and character could be seen as they were still trying to come to terms to the ordeal they had gone through.

UNI

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