OdishaPlus Bureau

MahendraTanaya Ashram School, a Gram Vikas residential school for Adivasi children in remote Gajapati district, has got a new state-of-the-art, 50,000 sq. ft. building.

The bigger space can accommodate over 500 students, from Classes 3 to 10. and has well-designed and separate Physics, Chemistry & Biology labs. A new library to promote reading can accommodate 50 students and the dining hall can serve 400 students. Designated space for children with special needs, dormitories for boys and girls and sports facilities are the other unique features of the new building.

Chandra Shekar Sahoo, Member of Parliament from the Berhampur, inaugurated the new school building on 16 November. Highlighting the critical role of schools in shaping a prosperous society, he said, “The school building is really huge. I have never ever seen such a big school in a remote area. The school has got really good facilities. Children who study here should make the best use of their chance to study here to enhance their talent.”

Students from Gram Vikas High School, Kankia, Gram Vikas Shikshya Niketan, Kalahandi, Gram Vikas Vidya Vihar School, Gayaganda and students from MahendraTanaya Ashram School participated in the various cultural programmes.

Joe Madiath, Chairman of Gram Vikas, spoke on occasion and encouraged the students to take advantage of the facilities available in the new school building to learn better. Social activist Natabar Padi, Purnabasi Nayak, Rayagada Block Chairman Pitambar Nayak, Zilla Parishad Member Madhuri Sabar, Samiti member Jayanti Sabar, Sarpanch Koinpur, Liby Johnson, Executive Director, Gram Vikas, Antaryami Gamango, Urmila Senapati and Kabita were present at the event.

The school buildings and facilities have been designed to stimulate critical thinking, discussions, collaboration, and peer learning among the children, most of whom are first-generation learners.

Sahoo commended the leadership and contributions of Joe Madiath, Gram Vikas Chairman, to bring quality education to Adivasi children. Dasarathy Gamango, a member of the Odisha Legislative Assembly, praised the facilities, “It is important to have state-of-the-art schools in remote areas for the development of communities. Since 1992, this school in a remote village like Koinpur has benefitted thousands of first-generation Adivasi boys and girls,” he said.

Lingaraj Panda, District Collector of Gajapati, shared his excitement, “The infrastructure is beautiful. The architecture and design of the building is really good. This is a mega project in my district.”

Prof. D.N. Rao, Vice President of Centurion University, recalled his days with Gram Vikas as a Project Coordinator in Gajapati. He said, “The school is a beacon of hope for Adivasi communities living in remote areas. Over the past three decades, thousands of Adivasi children were exposed to technology in classrooms and ICT labs which was otherwise a dream for them.”

Advising students to pursue skill development programmes, Prof. Rao promised to provide the necessary support to improve learning and innovation skills of Adivasi children.

Prakash Chandra Jena, the school Headmaster, highlighted the students’ achievements in academics, arts, sports, and international science competitions, “This year, MahendraTanaya Ashram School completed 30 years of nurturing countless students from remote Adivasi villages. The increasing number of students wanting to enroll necessiated us to have a bigger space to expand opportunities for everyone.”
Gram Vikas set up the MahendraTanaya Ashram School in 1992 to exclusively provide quality education to children from remote Adivasi communities in the Mahendragiri area of the Gajapati district in Odisha. It was part of a series of efforts, including non-formal education and adult literacy centres and middle schools, by Gram Vikas to address the literacy and education attainment gap among Adivasi communities.

Over the last three decades, 1000 plus first-generation learners from Adivasi communities have completed schooling from the four Gram Residential schools in Kalahandi, Gajapati and Ganjam districts in Odisha. State-of-the-art STEM and Innovation labs, SMART Classrooms, Creative Labs and trained teachers provide quality education with students winning awards and achieving academic excellence.
The focus on girls has resulted in equal or more girls from communities that have historically had few educated girls completing school.

Tags: #SMARTClassrooms #STEM #Adivasicommunities #GajapatiDistrict #Education