Thanks to Principal Veeranna Madiwalar, Nidagundi Ambedkar School in Karnataka has been transformed from a barren and dilapidated institution into a facility-filled institution, increasing enrolment and illuminating the village’s future in the process.

At Nigagundi Ambedkar School, you will be welcomed with vibrant and colorful walls, lavish infrastructure, lush trees, a sprawling garden, and a library stocked with picture books and audiovisual resources in both English and Kannada. Today this school, located in Nidagundi taluk in Vijayapur district, Karnataka, is a far cry from what it used to be – dilapidated and without even minimal amenities.

These remarkable improvements have increased the enthusiasm among the village children to go to school. As a result, the number of students enrolled increased from 76 to 136 students.

How did the change happen? For this, we have to thank the efforts of 39-year-old Vierana Madiwalar.

“It didn’t happen overnight. It’s been a gradual journey, and everyone has played a part in it.” India’s best. “Today, the school stands proudly, and the students have a place where they really enjoy studying.”

“I wanted to give them what I didn’t have.”

Born and brought up in a small family in Kaliwal village in Karnataka, Veerana’s childhood was full of struggle, he says. “My parents weren’t financially stable for very long. My father was a day wager and worked hard, earning just enough to bring food to the table.”

State school
After Veeranna took over the school, he built toilets and language laboratories and repainted the walls. Image credit: Veeranna Madiwalar

Veeranna says that even while his father was struggling to make ends meet, it was very difficult to pay his school fees. It was his uncle who supported his education. “He used to say that he saw in me a change-maker and an artist, and he wanted me to continue my education.”

One of the things Veeranna was sure of as a student was that he wanted to improve education for the next generations.

“I studied in a government school as well, and the infrastructure, teaching methods and school grounds were never at such a high standard. I always dreamed of making change when I was growing up.”

“I remember my uncle introducing me to the world of Rabindranath Tagore. His literature amazed me and inspired me to write too. He believed in me so much that even today he motivates me.”

After completing his studies, Veeranna had to finance his higher education.

Vierana Madiualar
Attendance at the school increased dramatically from 76 to 136. Image credit: Veeranna Madiwalar

In 2001 I went to Cobla for higher education. To fund myself, I worked as a day laborer on a construction site for several months,” he says.

After obtaining a diploma in education, he returned to his major taluk. “I joined an NGO working on rejuvenation of lakes and wildlife. I used to earn 750 rupees working there, and by saving money, I was also able to get my master’s degree in English and Kannada,” he says.

In 2007, his dream of becoming a government school teacher came true.

It takes the village

“I worked for four years before becoming the principal of Nidagundi Ambedkar School in 2016. By then I had saved money and was financially stable,” he says, adding that the dilapidated building and lack of infrastructure reminded me of the state of his school.

Using his own money, he started small—at first planting some trees around campus, and embarked on structure repair work. “But I knew I couldn’t fund school reform on my own and would need more help.”

And so he used the power of social media to raise money. “I started posting pictures of the school with my repairs on Facebook. Word spread, and surprisingly many people have come forward to help me,” he says.

Veeranna says he then built toilets for students and staff, repaired old furniture, along with bringing in new ones. “I used to stay in school after work hours to make it happen.”

Vierana Madiualar
Help the students plant trees on the school campus. Image credit: Veeranna Madiwalar

Even the students started helping to repair and maintain the school. “A gentleman from Mysuru donated nearly Rs 1.5 lakh to the school. Another person from Shanapatna donated a smart TV to the school.”

It was the combined efforts of these people that the school is now in good condition. With the help of social media, I was able to get a decent amount of donations, which helped build a language lab at the school. Students learn English and Kannada with the help of picture books and audio-visual resources.

“I live my dreams through my students”

Until 2016, the school had a low attendance rate of about 76 students. Since her conversion, enrollment has risen to 136, Vierana says.

“The change is amazing,” says Suleiman Sheikh, who is in charge of group resources at the school. “If you had seen the building in 2016, it was in a very sad state. I am one of the people who witnessed the before and after of this school. There are proper restrooms and seating facilities now.”

He adds, “When a school looks attractive, students want to come and study. Kids now flock here every morning, and we’ve seen attendance go up as well.”

Vierana Madiualar
Veeranna used social media as a fundraiser to improve the school’s infrastructure. Image credit: Veeranna Madiwalar

Veeranna notes, “While I always wanted to improve schools in villages, I also wanted to study mechanical engineering when I was a young boy. I didn’t have the money to fulfill this dream. However, one of my students has recently completed his degree in mechanical engineering. This is my biggest Win for me, and I live my dreams through my students.”

If you would like to help Veeranna, you can contact him on 99721 20570

(Edited by Divya Sethu)


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