The Kavi Dayaram school in Mujhmahuda basti in Vadodara is more than 40-years old. The school functions from a single room in which four teachers handle classes from the first to the seventh standards. The school building is in a poor condition with no functioning toilet for the students
The Committee members in Mujhmahuda have been demanding a new school building for the past few years. They say they cannot afford to send their children to private schools. The lack of facilities also leads to the quality of education being very poor – a small survey they undertook with the help of SAHAJ showed them that children lack even basic literacy skills. They are concerned that this will lead their children to become looteras and “thieves.”
The committee members initially sent several applications to concerned authorities in the education department and also to their elected representatives. They even met the Education Minister. However, despite repeated assurances, nothing was done towards a new school building. Frustrated, in early 2010, committee members decided that they had to take some drastic action.
In January 2010, committee members organized other members from the community and marched to the school and locked the building saying they would not allow the school to function in such a dilapidated building. This resulted in a posse of police and the media arriving there. Even when faced with threats of lathi charge by the police, the committee members stuck to their demand. This led to the authorities promising to sanction a new building.
However, as nothing happened for over a year after that, committee members again went on a hunger strike to highlight their demand. After four days of the strike which was covered by the media, a new building was sanctioned and budget allocated. Committee members then organized a drawing competition for children to help them express what they wanted in a school. The construction of the new school building has finally begun!