A scholarship that a teacher started three years ago in the memory of her brother has been growing as more and more people are coming forward with offers of help.
Only one student was given the scholarship when it was started. With the corpus growing, the benefit could be extended to three this year.
The students were given the scholarship — Joydeep Roy Memorial Award — at a programme at Gyan Manch on Monday evening.
After the programme, Joeeta Basu, the teacher who instituted the scholarship, got two phone calls — not for money, but for a chance to contribute to the corpus.
A woman from Belgium and a police officer from Kolkata offered their help for next year's awards.
“I had started with giving a scholarship to one underprivileged student. Individuals on their own have approached me saying they too want to help. We want to make this a platform available for as many needy and deserving students as possible,” said Basu, a teacher at St Xavier’s Collegiate School.
The scholarship — Rs 500 a month — is awarded for a year to students from classes X to XII.
This year’s awardees are Sumana Pal, who appeared in Madhyamik 2022; Sushmita Samanta, a Class X student; and Archana Haldar, a Class XI student. All of them are fighting adverse situations and financial crises at home to continue their studies.
Archana’s family is run not by her parents but her elder sister, a college student. Archana draws inspiration from her.
Sushmita’s father is a daily wage earner and Sumana’s father is a migrant worker now in Odisha.
Basu started the initiative in 2019, a year after her brother, Joydeep Roy, died in Uttarakhand, where he had shifted for work.
During the pandemic the financial struggles of many families had multiplied manifold. Migrant workers came back home and daily wage earners lost their livelihood for a considerable period of time.
"It is education that can push students out of a life of poverty and my attempt is to give them an impetus to be able to do so," Joeeta said.
Rumita Roychowdhury, a teacher from Bangalore, and Rajendra Khandelwal, a businessman from Kolkata, contributed to this year's award.