Rolugunta - a remote village in a hilly area in Vishakhapatnam - houses nearly 70 families of a particularly vulnerable tribal group that has minimal interaction with the outside world.
One of those families is that of Segge Jayanti, who have been living there for several decades. The 8-year-old girl has never been to school because the nearest one is across the hill in Tadapala village. Getting there is an even bigger challenge since the nearest bus stand is 6 km away.
Due to the recent rains and ensuing floods, the condition of the roads has become even worse. If the parents wish to send their children to school, they have to walk at least 7 to 8 km and it is risky for the children as the path gets slippery during the rainy season. As the village is situated in a mountainous area, parents are not willing to take the risk of sending their wards to school.
There are 39 children other than Jayanti, aged between five and nine years, who face a similar issue in getting to school. But now, with the help of an NGO Chaitanya, which deals with welfare activities in tribal areas and through donations, the village folk are building a primary school for the children up to class 5.
â€śTill now not one child in the village went to school, so we will start with the basics. The teachers will first teach them to write and read alphabets,â€ť said Srinivas Ganjivarapu, the president of Chaitanya NGO.
So far the villagers have been able to construct water tanks, libraries and other basics. The NGO also aims to provide books, schoolbags, uniforms, furniture, and sports material to the school.
â€śRolunguta is one such village which needs basics for the kids. Other than the school, these other basic facilities will help the kids stay in school and prevent them from getting into child labour and other troubles that they are prone to at a young age,â€ť said Srinivas.
Not only the NGO, but NRIs across the country have contributed in building the school. They have managed to raise more than Rs 3 lakh for the construction and other facilities.
â€śI came across the news article by Srinivas regarding the lack of a school for the children and was following him,â€ť said Mallik Polineni, a resident of New Jersey.
â€śI'm a volunteer for an NGO called i4farmers based in New Jersey. We mainly assist suicide-affected farmersâ€™ families. My friends expressed interest in donating for education related projects and I thought Rolugunta would be a good fit,â€ť he added.
The NGO has approached the District Level Education department to provide mid-day meals and teachers. â€śThey have promised to provide these facilities but it might take time,â€ť Srinivas said.
There are five graduates in the village who have volunteered to teach the students till they get government volunteers for the school, as without teachers the whole point of building a school will be wasted, said Srinivas.
Every day, more than 10 members of the village including men and women join hands and work to construct the school.
â€śIt is very important for the future of their children, it would have been impossible to do the groundwork without everybodyâ€™s effort, each of the villagers has contributed to this school,â€ť he added.
He also said that the main problem faced by them was transporting the construction material.
â€śOur team has been trying to shift material for the last one month. The road was damaged because of heavy rains. But recently, the village youth came forward and restored the road,â€ť he said.
Through the collective efforts of the villagers and the NGO, the construction of the primary school is likely to be finished by the end of this month.