Consul-General of Japan inaugurates the hostel in Gumla on Tuesday. Telegraph picture
Gumla, Sept. 18: For the likes of Prabha Kumari, who has to walk 20km to and from her school everyday, the new double-storey hostel in Bishunpur, a Naxalite-affected village in Gumla district, is an answer to her prayers.
The facility, built by NGO Vikas Bharti-Bishunpur with funds provided by the government of Japan to accommodate schoolgirls belonging to primitive tribes, was inaugurated by Consul-General of Japan Mitsuo Kawaguchi today.
The hostel, named after Sanghamitra, the daughter of Emperor Ashoka, has one big dormitory, two big rooms and four small rooms and will house 52 girls from poor families, who study at different schools of Bishunpur, located about 120km from the state capital. All rooms are well furnished with beds, chairs and tables.
While the Japan government provided Rs 34.10 lakh for constructing the hostel, Vikas Bharti chipped in with Rs 1.90 lakh for furniture. Vikas Bharti will also manage the hostel.
“The ambience at my home is not fit for pursuing studies while Bishunpur, where I study in a school, is more than 10km away from my village Chhapakona. I had to cover the entire distance on foot. I will not have to do so any longer, thanks to the hostel,” said Prabha Kumari, a student of Class VI of Government Middle School-Bishunpur and one of the 52 beneficiaries.
The hostel is for girls from classes V to X.
The Japan government had given the money to Vikas Bharti-Bishunpur on March 11 last year — the day the country was rocked by a massive earthquake and deadly tsunami. The Consul-General, who was in Bishunpur to inaugurate the girls’ hostel, termed the project a “memorable one” as it had been granted on the most difficult day of his country.
“Even though our country was going through the most difficult time in our history, we kept our promise,” said Kawaguchi, adding that their aim was to aid human resource development among poor sections of the society.
Kawaguchi also interacted with the children — around 500 of them had gathered on the occasion — in Hindi and even crooned a song, Kishore Kumar’s famous Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna, inspiring them to work hard and study well.
“The Japan government will think of more such initiatives in Jharkhand in the coming years. We have already provided Rs 36 lakh to an NGO, Hoffman Social Service Society, in Khunti to build a primary school,” he added.
The function was attended by development commissioner Debashish Gupta, secretary of Vikas Bharti-Bishunpur Ashok Bhagat and deputy commissioner of Gumla Subhendra Jha among others.
Bishunpur, the block headquarters, is surrounded by hills while the villages are tucked away in the forest. Schoolchildren have to trek several miles of hard terrain to attend classes at Government Middle School and Government High School of Bishunpur or Jatra Tana Bhagat Vidya Mandir. The surrounding villages only have primary schools and children wanting to pursue education after Class V have no other option but to travel to Bishunpur.