Inspirations: Uttam Teron, 35

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Photo: Anjana Dutta

Pamohi, Assam

Tribal Educator

By Ratnadip Choudhury

Until eight years ago, education was an alien concept for the tribal kids of Pamohi village near Guwahati. Now, they aren’t afraid of reaching for the sky, thanks to Uttam Teron. “The men in the village used to work in a stone quarry and the women sold rice beer. Earning two square meals was such a challenge that educating their children was a distant dream,” recalls Teron. So, the tribal graduate started the Parijat Academy in a cowshed with four students in 2003. Now it has more than 500 students, all getting free education. This year, the first batch will appear for matriculation exams. “I had to try hard to convince the parents to send their kids. Many laughed at me, others ignored me. Slowly, the mindset changed. Now, the tribals look up to the school,” he says. Money was a stumbling block, so he visited government schools in Guwahati and collected used books and uniforms. Those who came to know about his initiative started donating in cash and kind. “We need blackboards, sports gear, generator, etc,” says Anjani Teron, a Class VIII student. “The government has done nothing. For us, the Parijat Academy is a blessing.”

TERON MAY BE REACHED AT +91 98640 41711

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Special Correspondent

A young IT professional by training and a journalist by chance, Ratnadip comes from the smallest Northeastern state of Tripura and has been reporting out of Northeast India for ten years, as of 2014. An award winning Journalist, Ratnadip started his career with the Tripura Observer and went on to work with the Northeast Sun, The Northeast Today, News Live, Sahara Time and The Sunday Indian. He has also contributed to BBC, CNN, NatGeo TV, NDTV, CNN-IBN and TIMES NOW. Before joining Tehelka, Ratnadip worked with the national bureau of the television news channel NewsX. He specialises in conflict reporting and has a keen interest in India’s eastern neighbours. He has won the RedInk Excellence in Journalism Award 2013, Northeast Green Journo Award 2013, LAADLI Media awards for Gender sensitivity 2013. He is among 10 young Indian scholars selected by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on trans-boundary river issues of the subcontinent. He is based in Guwahati.

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