From 8 to 250 students: Story of a one-woman army
Asiya has proved that the work of a teacher is not just to teach.
The achievement we celebrate today is just a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greatest triumphs and accomplishments that await us. Meet Asiya Farooqui, a one-woman army single-handedly changed the fate of a primary government school in UP.
Do watch : Learning activity by Asiya Farooqui
Asiya has proved that the work of a teacher is not just to teach. Rather they are responsible for the growth of India and as rightly said are the nation builders.
Asiya has strated her teaching journey in 2009 from Primary School Bushehra, Hathgam(Fatehpur). She worked briefly there before moving to Primary School Adarsh Maswani. She converted this school as a model school in 5 years, which later become English Medium model school.
Do watch : Library activity by Asiya Farooqui
She got promoted as a Head Teacher in July 2016 and was transferred to a Primary School Asti, Nagar in Fatehpur district of UP. The condition of the school was not good, the building was broken, a heap of garbage laid in the school premises that increased in height every day as villagers nearby kept on dumping the trash. Hooligans infested the school making it dangerous for children and teachers. At that time only 8 students were enrolled in the school.
Asiya was the only teacher in the school and was not wanted by the villagers in initial days. Her pleas to stop throwing garbage or not to use hand pumps for domestic use such as washing clothes and not drink alcohol in the premises remain unheard. Although Asiya faced disapproval and hatred, she never gave up
”Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”- Napoleon Hill
Not waiting for other teachers to join or for help from others, Asiya started working on the problems by herself. She started out with cleaning the garbage mount, with the help of a few labourers and personally asked the nearby households to not throw trash irresponsibly in the school anymore. This boosted her morale and she finally started visiting the 150 families to enrol the children in the school. convincing required a lot more than just talking and persuasion. To make the school more likeable and attractive, Ashiya with help of a few villagers started a kitchen garden in the school premises.
It was a big success for Asiya and the children and improved the image of the school amongst the villagers.
However, During the Dussehra vacations; everything was destroyed by some notorious elements. Also, Asiya was threatened by some man on phone calls and her car was thrashed.
However, Asiya was stronger and instead of fleeing away she lodged a complaint against these miscreants and started working even harder. Asiya formed a Green Army, which consisted of students belonging to the village. This green army was responsible for taking care of the flower beds, the saplings, trees and the MDM vegetable beds.
Anjaney Kumar, District Officer and Shivendra Pratap Singh, BSA during their visit were so impressed with the school premises and improvement in the verbal English communication of the students that they could not stop themselves from praising the headmistress, Asiya Farooqui of the school.
In a small amount of time, Asiya changed the whole face of the school. A school full of students, impressive education of the students, the green well-maintained garden, beautifully classrooms adorned with pictures, posters, art and craft made by children, indoor games room, library, workshop room, learning corner, furnished dining room, activity hall and fully functioning ICT rooms makes this government primary school in a small village at par with private institutions.
Asiya is working alone but with the help of her own children cabinet. The amazing idea of making children responsible for their own school has helped this school. The elections are held from time to time, which includes rallies, speeches and voting. The democratic form of government at such a small level has helped the students understand the importance of representation, voting and their voice. The cabinet has 11 ministers which include, Prime minister, Health minister, Discipline minister, the sports minister, sanitation minister etc.
These small ideas have led to greater successes. The number of students enrolled in the school increased from 8 to more than 250. Along with a fun way of teaching, Asiya has made sure to keep the children disciplined and responsible. This has led to behavioural changes and more awareness in children that would help these children and their guardians in becoming more politically, economically and culturally aware.
Another activity that has amazed us is the Children Newspaper that is created every day by the students of the school. The children who are more interested in roaming around, chatting too much are given the job of bringing the news from all over the village and the next day this information is combined in a handmade newspaper.
There are so many more ideas that are used in this school by the students advised and curated by Asiya Farooqui. To know more about the school, please visit their youtube channel and support them.
“You educate a man; you educate a man. You educate a woman; you educate a generation.” ― Brigham Young
Asiya is a live example of how hard work is one of the major factors in solving problems. Excuses are pointless in the life of such amazing people, they focus more on their work than the problems at hand. The villagers that were one day against her and planned to make her leave are now asking her to stay and never leave. It is her unbreakable spirit to bring a change in society by making children responsible and making them understand how not giving up in the face of the problems would help them succeed.
We salute to every teacher that is working for the betterment of India by inculcating the good values in children. Sarkari School, today salutes to Asiya Farooqui.
Do watch our interaction with Asiya Farooqui here.
(With Megha Rana)