Uttam Terun of Assam started teaching underprivileged children in his barn. Today he runs Parijat Academy, a non-profit school that provides formal education and practical skills to more than 400 children for free.

At 21, Uttam Terone of Assam was a regular like everyone else. But his life is turned around when he comes across some kids playing in the mud instead of going to school.

To educate these children, he turned his cows into a classroom and began teaching them for free. Later in the year 2003, with 800 rupees in his pocket, the undergraduate graduate shifted his classroom to a non-profit school called Parijat Academy.

As the word spread, more parents began sending their children. Today, along with 22 trained teachers, the 47-year-old teaches nearly 400 children from 20 villages for free.

Uttam built Parijat Academy on his ancestral property. The school runs classes from Nursery to Class 10 under the Assam State Council. There is also a hostel for children from the hinterland.

Apart from providing formal education in Assamese, Hindi, English, social sciences and mathematics to children, the institute teaches various crafts to develop the skills of underprivileged children. They are trained to learn computer, sewing, handloom, sports, and dance.

Otam receives assistance from individuals as well as organizations to run the school. But it wasn’t easy. He collects pencils, old school bags, old books and even green vegetables and rice from people to support his school.

He says, “Only with education can the underprivileged live a dignified life.”

Watch his inspiring work here:

Edited by Pranita Bhatt


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