A helping hand

A helping hand

A helping hand

“I  might be unlettered, but I do know the importance of education. Village children should not be deprived of schooling.” Hucchamma Choudhari’s words reiterate her decision to donate her land to the village school. The Government Higher Primary School in Kunikeri village in Koppal district found a patron in Hucchamma two decades ago. The School was housed in a hut-like structure for a very long time and collapsed in one monsoon due to heavy rains and wind, and thus ended children’s dreams of education.

Then the government decided to build a new structure, but the villagers were not ready to give away their land to a school. Thanks to a number of factories in the vicinity, the village was a flourishing industrial area and the land value was rising exponentially. Consequently, many kids stayed at home and did agricultural chores, while some went to distant schools.

Hucchamma hails from a neighbouring village, Hanjala, where she was born in a poor farming family. She got married at the early age of seven and lost her husband when she was still young. Consequently, she returned to her native village and started working in the agricultural fields. But the agony of leading a solitary life disturbed her.

When Hucchamma learned about the situation, she decided to donate her land, worth several lakhs, to the School. In fact, her father Shivappa had also donated one acre of his land to a school in Vadaganal village. So, she donated one and a half acres to the School and another half acre to an anganwadi centre. Hucchamma lives in an ashraya house (house constructed for the poor under the State’s Ashraya Scheme) near the anganwadi centre.

Hucchamma chose education over money and as a result, hundreds of children have access to knowledge and learning today. She is happy that a well-equipped school building has been erected in her land now. About 150 children study in the School. Currently, Hucchamma earns a living by working as a cook in the School.

Teachers consider her as a mother figure and children share an affable relationship with her, like they do with their grandmothers.

This compassionate environment instills a sense of contentment in her but the thoughts of an uncertain future, with no proper source of income, cloud her sense of happiness.