Tea Child excels in exam result

Tania Bakshi lives in a closed tea estate in the Dooars and studies in the light of oil-lamps, as there is no electricity in the staff quarters.

She has got 92.4 per cent marks in the recently published ICSE results.

Bipin Gossain lives in the same garden as Tania. His father is a labourer at Ramjhora tea estate, closed since August 2002. He has cleared ICSE with 72 per cent marks.

Sonu Chhetri, a classmate of Tania and Bipin at Sunshine School in Birpara, cycled 10-12km everyday to reach school from his house in the Nichey labour line of the closed Dheklapara tea estate. He has secured 87.8 per cent in ICSE.

Tania, Bipin and Sonu’s achievement comes at a time when children from the closed and abandoned tea estates of the Dooars are dropping out of schools unable to pay their fees.

Sunshine School has played no small part in helping such students. “Around 40 per cent of the 750 children who study in our school are from tea gardens. We give concessions to those coming from closed gardens, besides free books and additional classes,” said Kirtan Chhetri, the principal.

“Despite the school bus incurring a loss, we have kept it operational considering the problems of transportation faced by students from the tea estates,” Chhetri said.

Of the 41 students who appeared for ICSE exams this year, 16 were from different tea estates, said the principal, though only Tania, Bipin and Sonu were from closed gardens. All 41 cleared the exam, Chhetri added, The ICSE topper from the school, Suman Damai (93 per cent) is also from a tea estate, albeit an operational one. “He is from Hantapara on the outskirts of Birpara,” the principal said.

Tania has already taken admission in Holy Child School in Jalpaiguri with science subjects and plans to appear in the joint entrance examination in 2009. Like her, Sonu, too, wants to study science.

Source: The Telegraph