TODAY -

A new school for Pinjang (Gangluan - IV)

Rucha Deshpande *



On Independence Day, tiny Pinjang (Gangluan -IV) Village in Noney District got a new Primary School. The school, called Vianney Friendship School, was sponsored by Sunbird Trust and the Learn for Life Foundation.

On the occasion, Col Christopher Rego (Retd), founder and CEO of Sunbird Trust, raised the national flag to the smart drill of a contingent of soldiers and an officer from 29 Assam Rifles. Among the distinguished guests were Most Rev. Dominic Lumon DD., Archbishop ofimphal and Mr Napoleon Rongmei, District Forest Officer, Noney besides chairmen of neighbouring villages, parents and children.

Speaking on the occasion, Col Christopher Rego (Retd.)mentioned that he first came to the location four years ago when the local Army Brigadier had apprised him of the complete lack of educational infrastructure in the area.

The Brigadier had asked him to examine the possibility of Sunbird Trust building a school here to replace the dilapidated existing school. The village had been at the centre of communal strife in the past and lives had been lost. There was a need to have a school that would serve all communities and that would provide access to education for the least privileged.

Col Rego mentioned that at the time, the Army had arranged for all the local village village chiefs from across communities to be present for a meeting with him. The chiefs had collectively agreed to support the building of the school and had decided to send their children here.

As this project was an ideal fit with Sunbird Trust's objective of "Peace through Education", it was taken up by the NGO. During his speech, Col Rego told the local chiefs that he had honoured his pledge to build the school and that it was now their turn to treat the school as their own and help it grow in capacity.

He expressed his gratitude to many generous donors including some of his old school-mates who pitched in to fund the school building. In particular, he was grateful to Learn for Life Foundation for their generosity and facilitation.

He spoke directly to the children telling them that not just their village, but every part of India from the mighty Himalayas to Kanyakumari along with every town and city in the country belonged to them. He said that at a time when India was on its way to becoming a superpower, all could aspire to take up any profession of their dreams anywhere in the country and succeed in life provided they worked hard.

When asked about the "Friendship" name in the school, Col Rego. explained that as a secular and non-denominational organisation,many Sunbird Trust sponsored institutions bore the "Friendship" name as it signified that the institution was meant for people of all communities and religions without discrimination.

Moreover, in sometimes polarized environs, such schools were expected to be hubs for children to learn about and respect plurality and diversity. He thanked the Assam Rifles for their support and service to the people of the village.

During his speech Archbishop Lumon thanked the donors for their generosity. He exhorted the local community to make the best us of this facility which they were fortunate to have. He was sanguine about developing the capacity of the school including with computers.

Rich compliments were paid to the local people for their contribution of free labour for the project including for gathering stone and sand for the construction. The speeches of the dignitaries were interspersed with delightful and well-choreographed cultural items by the children and women.

It would appear that generation next of Pinjang (Gangluan -IV) and neighbouring villages have new opportunities at their doorstep which their parents never had.

Hopefully, this "Friendship" school besides being a hub for education will also serve to bring peace and amity among people of the different communities in the area.


* Rucha Deshpande wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer spent two years in Manipur as a music and media coordinator. She is now based at Bangalore
This article was webcasted on August 19 2022 .



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