Help for students who lost breadwinners to Covid-19
Darjeeling based Vik-Run Foundation along with GTA Headmasters’ Association and various educational institutions from the hills have come forward to provide assistance to 14 students from the region who lost their breadwinners to Covid-19.
“In June this year, we decided to come up with a Covid crisis scholarship scheme, Siksha Sahara, to help students who have lost breadwinners during the pandemic,” said Vikram Rai, lecturer at St. Joseph’s College (North Point) and founder of the foundation.
After scrutinising applications and cross-checking them with various institiutions, the foundation along with GTA Headmasters’ Association short-listed 14 students, three of whom are college-goers, for the scholarship. “We made an appeal to various schools to waive tuition fees,” said Rai.
Loreto Convent, St Robert’s High School, West Point and St Teresa Girls Higher Secondary School from Darjeeling along with Pokhriabong High School and Pankhabari High School were some schools that have decided to waive their annual tuition fees for these students.
The group is also sponsoring their uniforms and textbooks for the next academic session in the hills that starts in March.
“These are difficult times for students who have lost their breadwinners. We also collected Rs 1.4 lakh from our well-wishers and it was distributed to students today (Tuesday),” said Rai.
The event was held at Ramakrishna Siksha Parisad (RKSP) school in Darjeeling on Tuesday.
The group plans to continue the scholarship in the days to come. “We hope the third wave of the pandemic does not occur but if the situation arises, we will come forward to help,” said Rai.
“We are facing difficult times and this has come as a big help for me,” said a student.
Vik-Run Foundation, which formed a legal cell, had also taken up a case of a private hospital in Siliguri “overcharging” a Covid patient from Darjeeling, who ultimately lost the battle.The West Bengal Clinical Establishment Regulatory Commission directed the hospital to refund Rs 2.3 lakh as compensation to the deceased’s family. In the course of the 20-day treatment, the hospital had handed the family a bill of Rs 8.34 lakh.
The foundation, which has a bank of 40 oxygen cylinders and nine oxygen concentrators, is providing free services to the poor all through the pandemic.