An hour drive from the IT city of Bengaluru, is the town of Ramanagara. The town came to limelight in 70’s, thanks to the cult classic, Sholay.
These days the hills of Ramanagara stand witness to the dedication of young Nagaraju, a teacher at the government-run school set up 16 years ago near Ramadevara Betta. The teacher climbs over 300 steps every day, traversing the hills come rain or shine, on his mission to get his students to school.
The school caters to the education needs of Iruliga tribe, a minority tribe that resides in 350 acres of forested land at the foothills of the Ramanagara hills. The school has 36 students from Class 1 to Class 5. The campus also has a kitchen, toilets as well as a bathroom.
Teachers from the school are going out-of-their-way to ensure that their students get a quality education.
The headmistress of the school reaches the school every morning at 9:30 am and walks through the by-lanes of the Iruliga tribe’s settlement, searching for students and herding them to school.
The task is supported by Nagaraju too, gathering students who are often found begging for alms at the Ram temple that crowns the hill. On reaching the school, teacher’s carryout the task of bathing the students, three times a week as well haircut regularly.
While the teachers feel the work is tiresome, they are enthused by the desire to change the lives of their students.
Nagaraju told, “The students’ future is at stake here. If we don’t prod them to study, then they may end up like their parents as daily-wage workers. It’s our duty to guide these children into schools.”