Kamjong: The pandemic has wreaked havoc across the country and left no sector, industry or trade untouched. However, there are always those who know how to turn adversity into an advantage. And one village along the Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur has turned the lockdown into an opportunity to render a lovely service for the village elders: the gift of education.
With over 100 households, Chatric Khullen village is located along the Indo-Myanmar, about 40 km from Kamjong district headquarters and about 150 km from Imphal.
Initiated by Gemson Haorei, a non-profit trust, elders of the Chatric Khullen village in the Kamjong district are getting access to education. Most of these senior citizens attending the classes had never been to schools in their youth life.
Speaking to EastMojo, Sorinthan Haorei, who is part of the team, said the class started on May 3 to introduce them (senior citizens) to better knowledge through education.
“Learning is never too late. Most of the elders live alone or most of the time in solitude, so these classes create a friendly and fun environment as well as give mental and social well-being,” said Sorinthan, who started the trust in memory of his late father.
Age is not an eligibility criterion to get educated, he added.
The classes for senior citizens start at 6 am. However, since most of the villagers are farmers and engaged in agricultural activities, only 20 regularly attend the class.
Others attend whenever they are free, said Sorinthan.
The Trust is also planning to start classes for the young married couples and middle-aged couples residing in the village.
Expressing happiness over the new learning activity, Langzarphy Wuidui, 66, said, “I had never thought that we would get such an opportunity to learn the alphabetical letters and numeric. We have benefitted a lot from this Trust. May God bless him (Sorinthan) and his Trust.”
Another fellow student, Ringaila, 79, expressed happiness and excitement over the learning activities were undertaken during the ongoing class.
“Before joining the class, I was completely unknown to such letters and numbers. Now, I can comfortably count 1 to 500 in numbers and have learned A,B,C as well. This will help me to read the Bible and will able to identify the pages on Khokharum Laa (Gospel Hymnal),” said Ringaila in a confident tone.
“I am grateful to the Trust for giving us such a golden opportunity,” she added.
Gemson Haorei Trust was formed in 2019 in memory and to continue the work started by Gemson Haorei, a student and a social activist. Under the Trust, a learning centre was established at the Chatric Khullen for everyone to come and learn availing of the facilities at the centre. A school named Oasis Academy for students was also started this year.
As the COVID-19 cases are rapidly increasing in the state and as a preventive measure, those who travel out of the village can enter only after showing the COVID-19 negative test report. Moreover, non-villagers are not allowed to stay or halt at night in the village.