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Making a mark, brave and bright
Some of the award-winners on the Science City stage at The Telegraph Education Foundation's School Awards for Excellence, on Wednesday morning. The daily struggles and determined efforts of parents, teachers and students were honoured and applauded at the ceremony, the theme for which was Dare to Dream. Pictures by Pabitra Das

The second and final installment of the ninth The Telegraph School Awards for Excellence 2005, presented by Adamas International School of the Rice Group, in association with Bengal Peerless, was held at Science City auditorium on Wednesday morning. Infosys mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy was the chief guest.

There were many moving tales of triumph against all odds. Here are the extraordinary stories of some of the scholarship winners...

 

Shabnam Ramaswamy, founder of the NGO Street Survivors India, gave away the Anand Paul Memorial Award for Social Service to St John’s Diocesan School. Shabnam and her husband Jugnu had chucked up their Delhi jobs to pursue the dream of a school in her hometown in Murshidabad. Her husband died this May. Shabnam is now living out their dream, alone

The ladies...

Paramita Dalui: Her father died a decade ago, her mother, a domestic help, earns Rs 200 per month. But both sisters are in school. Paramita does the house work and tutors her younger sister, in Class VIII. Yet, the girl from Demarihat, Tamluk, in East Midnapore, scored 71.4 per cent in Madhyamik 2005.

Anita Jamadar: She was born with the name Jamadar, because her father is a sweeper in a North Bengal State Transport office. He borrowed Rs 7,000 for his daughter's education, and still has to pay back Rs 5,000. The family lives in a small jhupri, and both parents (father Bindeswar in his off time) make bansher dali to earn extra money. Anita has done them proud, with 78.9 per cent in this year's Madhyamik exams, from Raiganj Devinagar Dayalal Girls High School.

Rinku Das: She passed Madhyamik 2003 with 70.8 per cent and HS 2005 with 63.2 per cent. What's so great about that' Well, Rinku is blind. She ranked first in both Madhyamik and HS among handicapped students in West Bengal. Poverty is another adversity she has to deal with. Her mother is a domestic help, and they live in a house that's falling apart. Her mama, a taxi driver, helps them, as does Krishna Bhattacharya, her former teacher from Debinagar Balika Vidyalaya.

Soma Chakraborty: Father Susanta is a hawker who sells sweets on local trains. With a monthly income of Rs 500-600, he couldn't afford an education for his daughters. So he got two of them married off. But Soma is determined to study. The girl from Subhas Nagar, Bongaon, North 24-Parganas, passed out of Saktigarh High School with 68.2 per cent in her HS exams this year. She gives tuitions to manage her own expenses.

Ishani Saha: The girl from Magra, Hooghly, earned 85.9 per cent in Madhyamik 2005. Her father has a small grocery shop, and her parents often take help from friends, neighbours and the school authorities to educate her. Ishani helps around the house, but rarely fails to come first in class.

 

Students and teachers of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy lift the trophy for The Telegraph School of the Year

...And gentlemen

Zulfikar Sekh: His father is a phuchkawallah with three sons and a wife to support. The family income is Rs 800 per month, and Zulfikar often has to help his father make phuchkas. He cannot afford to buy books for his sons, so Zulfikar borrows them from others. With help from his teachers, the student of Abhoy Charan Vidyapith passed Madhyamik 2005 with 76.5 per cent. His dream is to be a doctor.

Chinmoy Mondal: This boy from Bankura is 70 per cent blind, yet scored 76.5 per cent in Madhyamik 2003 and passed the HS this year with 60 per cent. His father has a small shop in Mondal Keshra. Chinmoy is also a chess champ, and has participated in two state-level and three national-level competitions for the visually handicapped.

Dulal Chandra Mondal: A 73.5 per cent in the Madhyamik exams is perhaps not uncommon. But consider this ' Dulal's father is a day labourer in Bethkundu, Geokhali. Due to poverty, Dulal quit school three years ago, in Class VIII, and became a day labourer. After saving money for a year, he rejoined school in Class IX and continues to finance his own education.

Biswajit Sarkar: His father died when he was two years old. His sister, then in Class V, gave up her own education to help her mother make ends meet at home. They're both domestic helps, with a combined monthly income of Rs 800. Biswajit's 60-year-old mother also suffers from gastric ulcer. His one aim is to make life better for the two women in his family. To that end, he passed Madhyamik 2003 with 82.6 per cent, and HS 2005 with 83 per cent. Biswajit is now a student of Kalyani Government Engineering College.

Ismail Mondal: Scoring 90.2 per cent in the HS exams is an admirable feat for anyone. But for Ismail, it was truly special. For, his father is an uneducated day labourer in Paschim Chandipur, North 24-Parganas, who sold his land to educate his two sons and daughter. Ismail often had to help Abdul Rab in the fields, to earn a little extra. Now, he is a student of Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College.

Md Abdul Wahab: He came to the Science City ceremony dressed in clothes given to him by friends. But the boy from Belurchak, Gangadaspara, Murshidabad, stood tall on stage. His 71.6 per cent in Madhyamik 2005 was a hard-earned victory. He lost his father at age three and his mother two years later. With no one to care for him, he had to survive on his own. So Abdul became a vanwallah. He gets up at 4 every morning to work as a day labourer, then goes to school, returns home and takes out his hand-pulled rickshaw to earn a living, gets back home at 11 pm and then studies.

SK Manjurr Hossain: The boy from Burdwan passed his Madhyamik exams in 2001 with a very respectable 76.3 per cent and earned 72.3 per cent in HS 2003. Last year, he ranked 1,300 in JEE. Not satisfied, he took the test again this year, and came 255 in medical. But it hasn't been easy. Father Sk Iqbal runs a tea stall and the family of five lives in a small house adjacent to it. Manjurr helps make tea and also washes cups and plates.

Milon Roy: He passed Madhyamik 2005 with 79 per cent. But here's why the student of Coronation High School, Raiganj, got a scholarship from The Telegraph Education Foundation... The boy from Binagram, Hemtabad, comes from a nine-member family. His father, a rickshaw-puller, supports them with a monthly income of Rs 600. Milon couldn't afford to go to primary school. On his own initiative, and with some help from para people, he got an ad hoc primary education. Then, he borrowed Rs 150 from his married sister and took admission in a madarsa in Class IV. The maulvi taught him English and math, and then Milon admitted himself in Hemtabad Bangal Bari High School. His aim is to be a teacher.

Dyut Kumar Seal: He lives in Gharsarai, Begampur, and passed his Madhyamik exams in 2003 with 87.4 per cent. This year, he passed out of Begampur High School with 95.5 per cent in HS, and then ranked 98 in engineering in JEE. Here's the story of struggle behind the success... Dyut's father Dilip is a weaver. He is often unwell and can't work. His mother is a domestic help. The family's daily income is Rs 30-40. But the engineering student of Jadavpur University continues leap over life's challenges.

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