Published: 01st July 2020
This school in Karnataka has pyramids instead of buildings. And they're 'positively' great for village kids
The Paranga Charitable Trust's Paranga Vidya Kendra provides free and quality education to rural kids by conducting classes in pyramid-shaped classrooms. These classrooms are located near Magadi
Have you wondered, like me, why and how pyramids were built in Egypt? Even after years of research, pyramids remain a mystery to us. If you are one of those interested to see how these pyramids function, you don't need to travel all the way to the sandy deserts of Egypt, you can find what you're looking for in Thorepalya village in Madagi taluk on the outskirts of Bengaluru. There lies the Paranga Vidya Kendra started by Paranga Charitable Trust that provides free and quality education for the children in Thorepalya and the surrounding villages in their pyramid-shaped classrooms.
Why pyramid-shaped classrooms, you wonder? There's an interesting story behind why the founder of the Trust wanted to build classrooms in this style. Prakash M V, Trustee, who is currently running the Paranga Vidya Kendra, narrates, "Paranga CharitableTrust was founded by M R Ramamurthy who was the Deputy Director of National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) in 1999. He was a simple man and wanted to provide basic and quality education to children from rural areas. To achieve this, he took voluntary retirement from his service and sold all his property to buy a few acres in Thorepalya close to Magadi. Ramamurthy's aim was not just to provide quality education but to help these children grow in their lives. Once he came across an article in one of the magazines of how pyramid structures helped retain positive energy and reduce stress. Following this, he decided to build the classrooms in this model."
When his team at the Trust heard his idea, they were sceptical if these structures would be of any actual use. Prakash says, "Ramamurthy had researched a lot about these structures and he was easily able to convince us. He told how they can help children remain efficient and effective in a high-energy environment. It retains energy to meditate and we agreed with what he said. He invested all his savings after taking VRS in 2003 and we were able to build four classrooms. Children from the village and surrounding villages started coming in and the villagers were happy to see their children studying in a different type of school. We started with 60 kids in the school." Gradually, when people found out about the initiative, they came forward and provided funds to build a few more classrooms. Currently, Paranga Vidya Kendra houses 11 classrooms, educating more than 600 children. Ramamurthy passed away last year and since then, Prakash has taken over the administration and handles the school too.
Apart from retaining positive energy, these structures serve as an example of what we call green structures or buildings. Ramamurthy used some of his best engineering techniques to build them. While the foundation of the pyramids have been built using concrete cement, red tiles have been used to cover the roof and sides of the pyramid and glass tiles have been used on the roof to provide ventilation throughout the day. "Each classroom can hold up to 40 students and the classes here are from pre-nursery to class X. These students follow the state syllabus, taught by 12 teachers we have onboard. The teachers are also well qualified and most of them are from the surrounding villages. Paranga Charitable Trust makes it a point that none of these youngsters are unemployed or uneducated. Ramamurthy himself taught Math to these students as it was his favourite subject."
This year, owing to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the Trust has been unable to gather funds from philanthropists. "People would donate uniforms and books every year but this year has been tough for us. We only hope that life returns to normalcy soon and our school runs without any inconvenience for our students - this was Ramamurthy's dream," concludes Prakash.