Assam educator Parmita Sarma has recently been awarded with the prestigious Devi award for her innovative way of providing education for underprivileged children at her school Akshar located at Pamohi area in Guwahati.
The award was presented to Sarma by woman and child development minister Smriti Irani at a function in Kolkata recently.
Sarma along with her husband Mazin Mukhtar opened the Akshar school in 2016.
The school which had only 20 kids in 2016 now has eight bamboo huts to run their classes and two digital classrooms donated by some donors.
Apart from traditional educational courses, Akshar has vocational courses like singing, dancing, solar paneling, embroidery, cosmetology, carpentry, gardening, organic farming, electronics and recycling.
Akshar school, also known as Akshar Forum, also does not have any age specific admission system like other traditional schools.
Students of different age group attend same classes sitting in open spaces together.
The levels of education are decided based on the knowledge of the students and they are continually tested to ensure that the quality of their education is increasing.
Sarma and Mazin are also the owners of a NGO named Akshar Foundation working on spreading quality education among poor children.
Sarma did her Masters from the Tata Institute of Social Science (TISS) Guwahati centre.
Apart from Sarma, other women from the northeast who had been honoured with the Devi Awards include designers Laldinsangi, Lalsangzeli and Lalrinpuii from Mizoram and environmental activist Temsutula Imsong from Nagaland.
The award is given to honour unique achievements of working women who display innovation and dynamism.