Meet Sushila Koli, The Woman Who Gave Her 11 Years To Educate Poor Children For Free

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Meet Sushila Koli, The Woman Who Gave Her 11 Years To Educate Poor Children For Free

There are some people who, being themselves so rich take away poor people’s money, well we don’t need to name them. While there are also some who don’t care about their fellow beings living on the earth and simply ignore their miseries. And there are also some extraordinary people who, without thinking about themselves help the needy.

One such woman is Sushila Koli, a resident of Laximinagar basti in Lat, a village in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra who has become an inspiration and a hope for the villagers living in the basti. It is through Sushila’s continuous efforts that the children of the village have access to basic education, and that too for free.

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There was no school or Anganwadi providing basic education to the kids of the village for a long time, and because of this, they were forced to go to work in the fields instead of attending pre-school. But this lady, realizing the importance of education, wanted to open an Anganwadi in the vicinity but no one came forward to help her and there was little support from the government.

Sushila finally decided to open an Anganwadi in her home and provided free education to the children for two years. Later, the Anganwadi moved to a temple in the area.

“Initially, children would not come to the Anganwadi because the parents would take them to the fields,” says Sushila. However, she refused to give up and kept making door-to-door visits to encourage the villagers to send their children to study.

Slowly, the villagers started to send their children to Sushila for studying. Sushila started the Anganwadi in 1991 and continued it till 2002. In the 11 years that she was a teacher, she helped more than 250 children learn the basics of education, and that too, for free.

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“The kids belonged to low-income families, and there was no question of charging them any fees. Sometimes the parents would give me food grains, but I never expected any money.” Sushila says. The Anganwadi was converted to a government school, Balwadi Vidya Mandir in 2003-2004, in an area near the basti.

Besides her contribution to the field of education, Sushila is also a courageous and unconventional woman regarding her personal relationships. She married Baburao Koli, an agricultural laborer who was a widower and had two sons from his previous marriage, against the will of her parents.

She told her parents that she would only marry Baburao and take care of his children. Baburao proudly says that getting married to Sushila was the best decision of his life because she completely turned his life around. He had to drop out of school after completing Class 4, due to financial constraints. However, he always hoped that his children would have a better life.

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Baburao says, “I always wanted my children to pursue education and not become agricultural laborers like me. Today, everybody in the village proudly wonders how the children of a sickle holding laborer became so educated. My elder son is a teacher in the nearby village, while the younger one is an Assistant Police Inspector (API) in Thane.”

Baburao and Sushila also have a child of their own, who is a Professor of Geography in Ichalkaranji and is also pursuing his PhD. Sushila expresses her happiness and says, “Nothing gives me more happiness than teaching other people because education makes you independent. I urge everybody to take up this noble profession.”

Published by Shruti Kumari on 25 Feb 2018