For Wing Commander Dr Thyelnai Dawn Khaling, what started out as an attempt to educate his maid’s children has today transformed into a regular classroom for more than 30 eager children whose parents have limited means. He holds this classroom in his home at the Air Force quarters in Jal Vayu Vihar, Bengaluru.
The defence doctor has always been zealous about educating children. Three years ago, he started a not-for-profit organisation in his home state of Manipur, which provided pre-medical coaching — free of cost, including food and lodging for poor students who showed promise.
“After coming to Bengaluru, I felt that there was something missing in my life,” he said. Upon some introspection, Dr Khaling decided that the void he felt could only be filled when he did his “duty towards society”. “It was then that I decided to teach these poor kids,” he told Bangalore Mirror. “People should not miss out on education because they can’t pay for it. Education empowers children to face the challenges of the future with dignity,” added the doctor.
Dr Khaling comes from a small village in Khangshim, Manipur, where his father was the first matriculate from its Uipo (Khoibu) Naga community. It is his father’s enthusiasm for education that, Dr Khaling says, has rubbed off on him too. He said, “My father understood the power of knowledge, and motivated others from our village to get educated. He taught me how even one person’s efforts could bring about a change in society.” “I am just trying to implement a little that I learnt from my father.
It’s not just what he does that makes a difference, but how he does it too. The students in his humble classroom actually enjoy the process. Bhavna Nagesh, one of his students, says: “In school, it is difficult to talk to teachers and many times we are not able to understand them. So I would just memorise everything to pass the tests. But here, I get to learn better.” Bhavna is a bright student, says Dr Khaling. He has even recommended her for admission to the Air Force School.