Pratibha Masih, 38
Dalli Rajhara, Chhattisgarh
By Prakhar Jain
Pratibha Masih, a primary schoolteacher in Chhattisgarh, has been running a free school for physically and mentally challenged students since 2001. Of the 58 students enrolled, 35 attend regularly. Two of them are abandoned kids who live with the Masih family. To prevent students from dropping out, they provide free transportation and mid-day meals. Masih’s husband and her sons double up as drivers for the transportation van, besides helping with day-to-day affairs. The school, which has had to shift twice, currently runs from a temporary three-room premises provided by the Bhilai Steel Plant. Donations from well-wishers pay most of the costs. But often, the Masih family has to pitch in financially. “The inspiration to start the school came from my father’s concern for mentally weak children,” says Masih. She surveyed all the wards of the city and the adjoining 56 panchayats to locate these kids. Now, people from other places also approach her for admission. Acute shortage of funds has forced the school to cut down the number of teachers from four to one but Masih is still upbeat about carrying her work forward. She also aims to obtain her MA degree, which she couldn’t finish earlier.
Masih can be reached at +91 93006 34140