Karmatar is a small village in the district of Darjeeling with a population of around 10,000 people with a few thousand more living in nearby areas. Before 2003, there were no schools to serve this little community and the children had to walk for over three hours in order to reach the nearest school. A lot of them just decided it was not worth it and did not go to school at all, missing out on all the benefits of education.
In 2003, two passionate teachers Namita and Yamuna from the village decided to quit their better paying jobs in a bigger town and start a school in the village with help from the community. They started off in a little house with two teachers and two classes. Finally in 2006 they managed to get some funding to have one more teacher join their ranks and to move from the house that was falling apart at the seams into a small structure on a land donated by a local farmer with extremely limited means. His take on his generosity was ‘as long as the kids have a place to improve their future with’.
Now they have a school with four classes in it and student strength of 70. Three more teachers have since joined on an internship basis and are being paid by the employed teachers by sharing their salary with them. Many of the students who were otherwise unable to access education began to come here. A large number of the students are girls who would have had no chance at an education if this school had not been there right in their village.