Sujal Das is a 16-year-old boy who lives with his parents and older brother in the village of Chhotajamuna, in the state of Jharkhand, India. Although they belonged to a marginal farmer family, Sujal’s father used to work in a private organization as a panchayat supervisor (rural land administration system) and his mother was a housewife. Their modest economic background and Sujal’s aspiration to excel in studies since childhood prompted his father to enroll him in a local English medium private school with the dream that it would help him to get a better education by having a good level of English language.
But with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, Sujal’s fate changed drastically. His father lost his job and their financial situation deteriorated. His father was forced to transfer Sujal to his maternal aunt’s house in Choroigora village and enrolled him in a local government school. This sudden shift had a great impact on Sujal which made him mentally depressed. He felt skeptical about his future education. Sujal’s mother joined a local primary school as a para-teacher to support the family.
In Choroigora, Sujal discovered the child club and support education center run by the Rural Development Association (RDA) and joined both when he was in 8th class. SEC teachers motivated and assured him that if he continues to study with determination, he will be able to achieve his dream even in this challenged situation.
Gradually, he came out of his depression and concentrated on his studies. During the closure of schools between 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic, he was in close contact with SEC teachers and regularly attended the education center. Thanks to his passion for studies, he facilitated peer-to-peer learning process in the centre for helping weaker children in studies and actively participated in the demonstration of innovative models during science model exhibition organized by RDA.
Two years later, offline board examination took place in India. Sujal appeared for his 10th class Board examination under Jharkhand Academic Council and achieved excellent result. He secured 95.6% marks and thus became the topper in his school. He also topped in the district of Ghatsila and secured 9th position in East Singhbhum district as well as 12th in the state of Jharkhand.
Sujal is thankful to RDA team and Terre des Hommes Suisse who helped him to keep up the motivation and reach this result. He is now determined to study harder in order to fulfill his dream of becoming an Aerospace Engineer.