In a major boon to the people of Domiasiat, South West Khasi Hills, the Presbyterian Youth Today International Network (PYTIN) has decided to build a one of a kind ‘green’ school in the village and name it after the recently deceased Spelity Lyngdoh Langrin, who inspired the anti-uranium movement in Meghalaya.
Langrin was at the forefront in the fight against uranium mining in the area and breathed her last in October. Her last wish was reportedly to see a functional school in Domiasiat.
The remote village has been without a school after the Domiasiat Government Lower Primary School was closed in 2007 after a major agitation against uranium mining.
Addressing the media today, Bremley Lyngdoh, chairman of the school’s construction committee, said that the aim is to create a green sustainable model school and not a mere concrete structure.
“We will start the construction with two-three rooms by January at an estimated cost of just Rs 8 lakh for the start that will be increased with time before a fully English medium school comes up that will be equipped with a rainwater harvesting roof, solar panels, etc, and the admission at this school will be free of cost so that education of the poor and needy people in Domiasiat is sustained,” he said.
The school will not be limited to the MBOSE curriculum but also offer vocational training so that students who pass out from this school can have a range of work options when they graduate.
The school will be funded through donations and in this regard an international fundraising campaign began today.
“People can help us raise the funds not only in cash but also in kind, like by donating solar panels, bricks, cement and all the required materials while some can give us their time,” Lyngdoh said.
Informing that the PYTIN is a loose network of young Presbyterian youth from across India and all over the world, he said, “We are not affiliated to the Synod or Presbyterian Church of India but we are concerned people who come from the Presbyterian faith but are open to engage with all young people from all faiths to work for the betterment of society, the state, the North East and beyond.”
Condemning the closure of the government school in 2007, he said that it was unfair to punish the children because “some people wanted to play politics.” Teachers were reportedly jailed at the time because they had spoken out against uranium mining.
If the Domiasiat school works out well, the idea is to create similar schools in the border areas “that have been left abandoned by the concerned authorities,” Lyngdoh added.
Daiaphira Kharsati, a lecturer at Shillong College who is part of the team, said that Domiasiat came into existence more than 60 years ago but does not even have a water supply, electricity or health centres.
“Pregnant mothers have to go for delivery and travel on very bad roads up to Mairang while children have no access to education and have to go for schooling to Wahkaji and their misery is beyond words,” Kharsati added.