Orphans attend class at Indradhanush in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Seven-year-old Pankaj Mahto studies in Class II and enjoys playing cricket. Team India skipper and Ranchi boy Mahendra Singh Dhoni is his inspiration. “Humko Dhoni bahut pasand hai (I really like Dhoni),” he quips
Sixth grader Suresh Kispotta (13) aspires to join the police. “Hum Maoist-log ko khatam karna chahte hain, isi liye theek se padhai kar ke police mein jana chahte hain (I want to wipe out Naxalites by joining the police for which I will study hard,” said the teen who’s good in science and maths.
Oliver Twist couldn’t afford to dream because he didn’t stay at Indradhanush.
The Hindi word for rainbow seems apt for the only orphanage in Ranchi district.
Nurturing Pankaj, Suresh and 54 other parentless boys, the facility set up by Jharkhand Education Project Council (JEPC) in 2010 provides free lodging, food and recreation.
Indradhanush runs out of the premises of Government Middle School in Hindpiri and the orphans study at the state-run cradle upto Class VIII.
“Since the orphanage runs from the campus of the state school, these children study in the middle school along with others,” said principal Amarkant Pathak.
Indradhanush faculty Pushpa Singh, who takes special classes for the orphans, was all praise for their calibre.
“They are not only good in academics, but also excel in extra-curricular activities such as painting and sports. They have the drive.”
Concerned over the children’s security, the JEPC has recently employed two night guards on campus.
Principal Pathak has also requested JEPC officials to provide two sets of school uniforms and a cardigan to each of the orphans.
The well-run state facility is rare on another count. It is not cramped.
The total capacity of the home is 100, but only a little over 50 per cent seats have been filled up.
As far as the admission process is concerned, the block education extension officer asks the block resource person to look for orphaned children across the state.
The officials first verify the child’s background and then inform Ranchi district superintendent of education (DSE) Jayant Mishra, who recommends the boy to Indradhanush.
JEPC project director Mamta said: “We are planning to open orphanages-cum- schools in each district. Ranchi will get its second one soon, possibly in Doranda, for which Rs 1.33 crore has been earmarked.”
Oliver had memorably said in the Dickensian classic: “Please sir, I want some more.” JEPC seems to have heard it.