Mithun, the teenage waiter-turned-teacher who runs a free school for poor children in Nangli, has apparently left a positive impression not just on the minds of local residents but also non-resident Indians (NRIs) and US citizens, who have begun evincing interest in his initiative.
Mithun’s work brought to Amritsar on Saturday Obama campaigner Indira Krishnamurti Pradhan, who laid the foundation stone of his free school in Nangli.
The school has been renamed after Pradhan’s father R Krishnamurti, a former UN diplomat and the founder of Asian Development Bank.
She was overwhelmed by Mithun’s initiative and said wanted to do her bit for him by raising funds for his school and inspiring her US-based friends to follow the suit. She also intends to initiate a chapter in the name of Free School, Nangli, in the US. She called Mithun the “architect of his own destiny”.
“What he has done is truly amazing. While many of us want to do something similar, we can barely gather the courage to do so,” she said.
Youngest of the five siblings in his family of migrant labourers, Mithun was barely four-year-old when he instead of going to a tea stall for work expressed his desire to be sent to school.
He opened the free school for the children of migrant labourers in 2008. He supports this and another school at Ram Nagar Colony, Majitha Road, by working as a waiter at roadside dhabas and marriage palaces. Mithun’s efforts were honoured by Ohio State University, where a benefit dinner was hosted in his honour.
“He teaches his students to be self-reliant, which is evident from the fact that he has employed some of his promising students as teachers at his schools,” said Pradhan.
Be it US or India, the poor suffer in both the countries as they find it difficult to get out of the circumstances, she added.
“They remain poor and are even forced to beg. People like Mithun can help improve not just their lot but also the diplomatic ties presently soured by starting a similar initiative for the poverty-stricken in the US as well,” she said.
There were a few US citizens who had heard about Mithun’s work and wanted to visit Nangli to support him, she further said.
‘I read about him in HT online edition’
Stating that this was her second visit to Nangli since she had heard about Mithun and his outreach programmes, Indira Krishnamurti Pradhan said that she had first read about Mithun in the online edition of Hindustan Times.
“I came across a story on Mithun in the e-paper of Hindustan Times. I was highly influenced by his work. I got in touch with him and have been supporting his venture financially ever since,” she said.
She said Mithun’s work also featured in a story covered in Huffington Post later on.
“What he (Mithun) has done is truly amazing. While many of us want to do something similar, we barely gather the courage to do so.”
— Indira Krishnamurti Pradhan, Barack Obama campaigner