Have you noticed the kid in your class, who doesn’t seem to grasp things as fast as the rest? Then you must also have noticed the teacher who thinks that the kid is just not trying. Even parents are sometimes unwilling to accept this, and force things onto their kids. In Kolkata, there is a high reputation attached to good education,and one too many fall prey to this social norm. No one is willing to hear the word ‘disabled’ let alone work for it. Avilash Pahi goes on to describe how he had to bribe people even officials, while trying to set up a library for children who are ‘differently abled.’ It’s a hard road to walk when most people around are interested in personal gain, to make them see why he gained even more while working for the betterment of these kids.Pahi had studied in Kolkata and went on to pursue his graduation at Swarthmore College. During his second year Pahi along with five other sophomores were recipients of the Eugene M. Lang Opportunity Scholarship, which provides a guaranteed summer internship, educational enhancement funds, and the opportunity to apply for up to $10,000 to create a project that addresses a social problem. While Pahi was studying in Kolkata, he and his friends used to volunteer at the Manovikas Kendra Institute of Research Rehabilitation for the Handicapped in their various projects. Those volunteer jobs gave Pahi the basis for his S2A2 project at Swarthmore. The grant committee loved Pahi’s project and provided $3,250 — $750 more dollars than the typical amount. Avilash Pahi established a library and resource center at the Manovikas Kendra Special School in Kolkata, India, in 2010. Pahi’s summer project focused on providing resources to serve students with special needs, providing books and other learning resources to children often overlooked in traditional learning settings, as well as their teachers and caregivers.
Pahi has taken his project further and has started an NGO called CLASS ( Calcutta Library Advantage in Special School). This includes Libraries and Resource Centers established in the Manovikas Kendra Institute for Research and Rehabilitation and Noble Mission School. “I also went in all directions to help people see the need for this establishment, and make small charitable contributions, now we have affiliated bodies like corporate houses, and schools like La Martiniere and Special Education Bodies like MARC,” shares Pahi.Phai believes “The youth in India are taking big steps towards making their country a better place and solving pressing issues. Educated young people are fighting against those problems and making a difference nowadays. Non-government organizations are also working in the region to help those in need, but their efforts and some help from the government remain insufficient to make a real difference.” Are you able to see the good behind this cause? Does the fact that his budget sheet had an entire amount, under the caption ‘underhand bribes’ sound absurd? Not if you were in Kolkata right? We have people like Pahi, who stand against the tide to do what it takes to make a difference, and haven’t given up. How far can they go, if the society they work for won’t help them. It’s about time we gained inspiration from guys like him, and worked against social evils.