When elders plan a project, they think about funds. But for children, motivation is at times the sole driving force. Students of a primary school in Haldipali village of Bargarh District in Orissa wanted a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. For four years, they painstakingly saved from their pocket money. Their thrift worked. The statue is now ready to be installed on Gandhi Jayanti day.
Interestingly, the school has only two teachers, including the headmistress and 51 students. According to Headmistress Sanjukta Rana, the students used to sing “Ram dhun” in front of a photograph of the Father of the Nation put inside a classroom. Four years back, some students installed a stone inside the school compound and started worshipping it as Mahatma Gandhi.
Noticing the students’ deep reverence for the Father of the Nation, assistant teacher Prasanta Das suggested that it would be better if they replace the stone with a statue. “Since then, they started saving a rupee daily from their pocket money and putting it in the donation box,” Das said.
When the villagers came to know about the students’ resolve, they also started contributing. The donation box was opened after four years and Rs 12,536 tumbled out. The students then asked Bhagirath Bhoi, a mason and part-time sculptor from nearby Rohania village, to make a Gandhi statue. Bhoi quickly made a statue by using cement and a special kind of gum.