Published: 26th May 2017
Live to serve: This vocational high school teacher has constructed roads, gardens and even houses in his village
Jafeesh , a teacher in Kerala, is revolutionizing lives by constructing roads, houses and organic gardens with his NSS corps. He tells us about his inspirational life
It was the closely-knit social life in his ancestral village of Thamarakulam in the Alappuzha district of Kerala that instilled the ideals of voluntary service in Jafeesh J, a vocational high school teacher based in Thiruvananthapuram.
Winner of the Indira Gandhi NSS National Award for the Best Programme Officer in 2014-15, Jafeesh continues to inspire scores of youngsters to take up voluntary social service. It was during his early college days that Jafeesh became smitten with the NSS and its activities.
As an active NSS volunteer when attending MSM College, Kayamkulam, he enthusiastically participated in various social activities. It was only natural that the task of coordinating various activities of the NSS fell on his shoulders when he started working as a Lecturer in a private engineering college in Kollam in 2001.
We launched a campaign called Clean Kollam to clean up the main markets of the city in 2005. It proved to be a huge success. Though there were only 100 NSS volunteers, we still managed to rustle up around 1,200 more students from the institution
Jafeesh J, Teacher, Govt Vocational Higher Secondary School, Thiruvananthapuram
He later joined government service as a high school teacher in Government Vocational Higher Secondary School (GVHSS), Chunakkara in Alappuzha.
Subsequently, he was appointed as a non-vocational teacher in Physics in the same school. During his tenure there, Jafeesh initiated a number of innovative programs that won him both state and national recognition.
As part of the Sahapadikkoru Veedu (Home for Classmate) program, students built a house for Vishnu Surendran, a poor student studying in the school. The fund for the project was raised entirely by the students through collections from their classmates and the general public.
Realizing the dangers of pesticide-laden food, Jafeesh’s team launched organic vegetable and paddy cultivation programs in the locality. Hundreds of kitchen gardens were set-up and the paddy cultivation efforts produced a yield of 750 kg from a mere 1.5 acre of unused land.
The NSS team also laid a village road and built toilets in a lower primary school in the locality. The volunteers, under Jafeesh’s leadership, clean public areas, school toilets, and adjacent ponds and canals.
When the United Nations observed 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based technologies, Jafeesh and his team proposed a project called Velicham (light).
Lighting up: The team under Jafeesh's leadership managed to electrify poor students' houses in a quick span
The program, which envisaged the electrification of poor students’ houses, was completed in record time, enabling two students to study under electric lamps. Fixing of traffic sign boards in accident prone areas and environment conservation programs under which 7,500 saplings were planted, were among the other projects done.
Setting-up of a full-fledged biogas plant, ten pipe compost units, manufacture and distribution of 4,500 paper and cloth bags, and collection of 200 kg of plastic waste for recycling were some of their other notable activities.