In conversation with Harikrishna Upadhyaya, teacher in Mugu
Harikrishna Upadhyaya, Asst. Head Teacher, Lokpriya Secondary School, Gamtha Khatyad, Mugu
People who are personally involved have a keen eye. Therefore, at the end of 2019, we interviewed Mr. Harikrishna Upadhyaya, who works as a teacher in Khatyad in the Mugu region and lives in the village himself.
If you look back 10 years, what was the educational situation like in Khatyad?
We are talking about a completely different state of affairs. Education was not a priority for the communities. The infrastructure was inadequate, there were few or no learning materials – so learning cannot inspire anyone.
What has changed in this regard?
The situation has improved considerably. With Back to Life we have achieved a completely different status. Since 2011, Back to Life has invested heavily in school construction, equipment, toilet construction, educational training for teachers and much more. There are also urgently needed items such as warm clothing and personal hygiene items. From kindergarten to 5th grade, the number of pupils has increased significantly and the number of dropouts has decreased. Children who previously had no access to education are now integrated. Everyone benefits from the work of Back to Life, but especially the poor children in the region.
What improvements do you see outside of the education sector?
Her health was poor and there was no access to medical care. Poverty and illiteracy were unfortunately the rule, due to the remoteness of the region, the infrastructure for transport and communication were almost non-existent. Nobody paid any attention from the state side. A lot has changed in both health and economic terms. With the Back to Life health program, the education and provision of hygiene articles, access to clean drinking water and the construction of toilets. Not to forget: the opening of birthing centers. The fact that children are no longer born in the cowshed or in the wild has enormously improved the health of children and mothers. The children’s school, home and environment are tidier and cleaner. At home there are solar systems for electricity, toilets and smoke-free stoves – an incredible win for everyone.
And how does it look economically?
The economic situation in our remote, rural area has always been difficult. Men have gone to work in cities or abroad. Here, too, we have benefited from Back to Life and learned how we can become financially independent, what savings groups, microcredit and cooperatives are. We are connected through road construction and markets open up. In addition, jobs are created. The resulting orchards can supply other areas. All in all, Back to Life not only helps us with infrastructure such as schools and birthing centers, but also with training and sensitizing the population to more opportunities. As a result, people’s situation has improved significantly in every area of life.