Published: 26th May 2017
Using his Facebook account, this teacher found donors from the US and Japan to build a compound wall for his school and to clean up the neighbouring areas
L Arockiaraj, a teacher at the Panchayat Union Middle School, Konerikuppam uses social media platforms to raise funds to help his school and students get computers, much-needed facilities and more
Teachers and students will be torchbearers of Abdul Kalam’s India 2020 vision, says 35-year-old L Arockiaraj, who’s been teaching for more than a decade. He’s been using social media to connect with benefactors across the globe to help and support the students of Panchayat Union Middle School, Konerikuppam where he’s been working since 2009. With the help of his active Facebook account, he managed to find people from the US and Japan to send in their contributions for cleaning up the neighbouring areas to building compound walls at the school.
Having a working knowledge of a computer is no longer an option in today’s world. When you begin your under graduation or when you start working, you need to know the basics
L Arockiaraj, Teacher, Panchayat Union Middle School, Konerikuppam
Recently he collected around six lakh rupees to set up a computer lab in his school. “Having a working knowledge of a computer is no longer an option in today’s world. When you begin your UG or start working, a basic knowledge of today’s technology is a prerequisite. But these children from Nallathur, Nangunam, and Konerikuppam, who are raised mainly by construction workers and/or women who sell flowers on a daily basis, have absolutely no access to a computer. This is why we need to do something about it to help them become employable,” explains Arockiaraj, who is on the lookout for more donors as there’s a lot more work to be done in the lab before the students can start using it.
Arockiaraj says that his school children are very motivated to learn and explore. “There was a ground in our school that was not cleaned for weeks. Last December, with the help of the students of class VIII, we made a cleaning device out of the skin of a palm fruit and we even submitted our project to Design For Change’s ICAN School Challenge Contest. To the students’ delight, their device was selected as one of the top 20 innovative designs. This definitely boosted the students’ confidence of their creative pursuits,” says an elated Arockiaraj.
Scientists in the making: Arockiaraj with his students designed a device out of the palm fruit skin
Coming from a small village in Viluppuram, he says that right from his childhood, he wanted to either be a priest who runs a school or serve in the army. “I saw a lot of priests growing up; that could have been why I wanted to become one too at the time. My father was serving in the army throughout my childhood and the sole responsibility of raising four children fell on my mother. She was keen that I become a teacher as she liked the respect and responsibility the profession warrants. So, after some thought, I took up teacher training,” says Arockiaraj.
With the help of his active Facebook account, he managed to find people from the US and Japan to send in their contributions for cleaning up the neighbouring areas to building compound walls at the school.
Being a musician for years, he now teaches the first graders folk songs that instill moral values. “If we don’t teach them our culture through folk art, then how will the arts survive? Have you heard the lyrics of songs from movies these days? They are not child-friendly at all. That’s why we encourage our children to learn the traditional native art,” explains Arockiaraj, who just released an album in honour of our late President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. “His vision will come true and it is in the hands of the children, who will become the citizens of tomorrow. So, we need to be extremely careful of the environment we create for them,” he adds.
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