I am happy to say that we are just over the half-way mark of our goal. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who read Mithun's story and decided to lend your generous support for him and his school children. It is indeed wonderful to note the enthusiasm and support shown here and also on Mithun's facebook page for all the good and incredible work he is doing.
With all of your generous help, we have managed to procure a genset that is so vital to the daily running of the school in ensuring we have a constant supply of power. With the constant daily power failures that the village of Nangli faces, it was becoming difficult to conduct classes and now we are pleased to say that we do not face those disruptions anymore.
Last but not least, I'd like to offer my special thanks to Jennifer Koons, whose super story on Mithun in the Huffington Post is what brought wide attention to this remote village where he is doing his incredible work and continues with it. It was Jen who linked up this funding site with her story so people could read about Mithun and decide to offer their help towards his school and children. Again, our very thanks to you!
On behalf of Mithun and the Nangli children, our best wishes to all who have made it possible for us to cross over the half-way mark and continue to lend their support.
Dear friends and family,
We urgently need to purchase a genset (an electric generator for back up source of power) for Mithun and his children, which is on top of our priority list now. Due to power cuts and extreme temps, it is difficult to survive, let alone run a school. The entire village can go without power for days. More importantly, many of the children also suffer nosebleeds constantly due to the heat wave that has affected areas of northern India, including Punjab with temps upwards of 46 celsius. They have 3 fans, which are of no use now.
These children have never been top priority for the government, especially these kids belonging to poor migrant workers are at the bottom of the heap, totally ignored and relegated to the periphery of a neglected community and treated as pariahs.
Even a few dollars would add up and make a big difference in their lives. So I am urging you all to please donate whatever you wish. Even $5 or$10 would help greatly. It will all add up. I was just made aware of the dire conditions there and hence my appeal to you once again.
A big thanks to all our supporters and the most recent ones too for your generous hearts.
URGENT APPEAL FROM NANGLI :
"We at Nangli and Amritsar are having scorching heat conditions and tempratures touched 44-45 degrees, the weather office says that the heat wave will continue. Nangli has no electricity being a non tax payer area, poor area. Most of the electricity is being diverted to agri sector for paddy sowing and tubewells. Three of my poor children had nose bleeds in the last three days . WE have 3 fans but they do not work. We are looking at our friends and supporters to help us BUY A GENSET soon so that kids/ students do not suffer. They are already anaemic and malnourished." Mithun Kumar
Dear friends and family, as you can see above is an urgent appeal from Mithun Kumar regarding the terrible situation that is affecting the children of Nangli.
We would truly appreciate your support at this time for the purchase of a genset, which is on top of our priority list now. Even a few dollars would add up and make a big difference in their lives. So I am urging you all to please donate whatever you wish. Even $5 or$10 would help greatly. I was just made aware of the dire conditions there and hence my appeal to you now. We'd be ever so grateful for your kind consideration and wharever help you can give. Thanking you all.
A big thanks to those who have just recently made contributions towards Mithun's charity.
We would always appreciate more support and whatever you can contribute to help this worthy cause.
Last October, after reading about this incredible boy, Mithun Kumar from Nangli village, Punjab, I traveled to India to meet this young man personally and witness his amazing work and dedication to teach the impoverished children of his village community.
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What's truly incredible about this young man is that he himself comes from a very underprivileged family of migrant workers, his father, being a rickshaw puller and his mother a domestic help. However, Mithun realized at the age of 7 or 8 that he too wanted to go to school like many of the children he saw, instead of working at a tea stall as a child laborer. It also dawned on him that only with education could he pull himself out of poverty. Furthermore, he wanted to help the other kids of his village to follow in his footsteps and seek education in order to unshackle themselves from their impoverished status. Thus, at the age of fourteen with just a few students, he started a free school in his village. Today, four years later and at the age of eighteen, he has an enrollment of 180 students.
He works during the day in roadside food joints, waiting tables, working at marriages and doing other odd jobs. He has become an expert at fixing leaking pipes and taps in the city of Amritsar with a deep awareness to save water wherever it is being wasted. He runs his school in the evenings as his day earnings go towards paying for his school upkeep and his teachers' paltry salaries. Surprisingly, his teachers were his own students, who also fervently believed in his cause and have been trained by him to teach at his school now.
His school does not aim to produce doctors, engineers, lecturers or professors.But his aim is to provide life earning skills in order for his students to be able to join mainstream through a huge service sector industry that is waiting for skilled/trained car and auto or two wheeler mechanics, nurses, tailors, plumbers, mobile and computer repair mechanics, beauty salon attendants, retail outlet staff, hospital attendants, hotel staff(house keepers) etc. etc. Jumping college because most cannot afford it but once they become part of mainstream then they can support themselves or try to continue education later on when they have the money or can apply as regular students.
Apart form his free school, he is also helping his poor community in many other ways. He has for several years now been repairing leaky taps and faucets in order to prevent wastage of water. With a few tools in his pocket, he is often called or volunteers to fix leaky taps around the city of Amritsar.
In the summer of 2012, he started a successful free tailoring school for the home bound married women in his village as a way of acquiring a new skill that would provide a means of earning.
Just this past winter when northern India faced one of the fiercest of winters in forty years, Mithun didn't spare any effort in tirelessly collecting warm winter clothes and socks for his children from various sources such as individuals and city schools. With the death of one person in the village due to the freezing weather, he spared no effort again in collecting cow dung cakes (used as fuel) for his entire village. He searched near and far and brought in provisions from neighboring villages to ensure that his community could be able to stay warm during the very cold winter time and thus prevent any more deaths.
He organizes and conducts special feedings for his school kids so they can celebrate special festivals with food and special treats.
He helps the teenage girls in his school by helping obtain sanitary towels, which none can afford. Primitive ways of managing their periods have led to these girls contracting severe infections for which treatment is expensive. It is Mithun who is again summoned to seek help for these girls.
He also protects the stray dogs in his village. he has his own adopted dogs. He personally delivered the pups of Rimpy, his dog and provided them with a warm shelter from the cold.
There are so many more community affairs that Mithun is involved in but are too numerous to mention here. He receives no organizational help and manages his school through his own earnings and private donations made by those who hear about his work. In January of this year, he won a special National Achievement award from the Chief Minister of Punjab for his deeply dedicated service towards his community.
Mithun's beliefs are so unique and entail the principles of social entrepreneurship that there is so much talk about around the world.The problems the poorest of the poor face are intractable. Here is a very young and marginalized kid encouraging his community to help themselves. He has taught these kids that responsibility to heal their own community begins in their own community. Most importantly,He has created a new paradigm in education: Children helping children.
Mithun does not seek any office. He does not seek fame. He always says: "I am doing nothing special or great. I am doing what I like and love doing. And in doing all this I get lots of love and happiness and personal satisfaction."