The Songadingre Lower Primary School at Dadenggre in West Garo Hills. Photo Credit -The Telegraph

An IAS officer is leading a crowdfunding campaign during the festival of lights – Diwali – to renovate a lower primary school in Meghalaya’s West Garo Hills.

A report published in the The Telegraph stated that inspired by the gesture of Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who donated Rs 3.14 lakh for renovation of a school in West Khasi Hills, Swapnil Tembe, Subdivisional Officer (Civil) of Dadenggre, has initiated the campaign for renovating the Songadingre Lower Primary School.

The report further stated that Tembe will also donate his two months’ salary towards the renovation of the dilapidated school building. “This Diwali, let’s renovate and transform this school, to light up the faces of the children of Songadingre Lower Primary School,” Tembe said in his post on Milaap via Twitter.

Milaap is India’s largest crowdfunding website. Until the filing of this report, 11 individuals had donated to the cause and Rs 40,250 has been collected so far. “The condition of several Government schools here in rural Meghalaya is in a pathetic state. And in such dilapidated and unlit structures, it’s difficult to imagine how the little kids will inculcate interest in education. Recently, our Chief Minister renovated a school by donating his own salary,” Tembe said.

The bureaucrat said he had pledged to renovate the Songadingre Lower Primary School in his subdivision by donating his two months’ salary this Diwali. He is also trying to garner at least Rs 1.5 lakh through crowdfunding, as he not only wants the school to be renovated but also turn it into a model institution.

He said many people had approached him with the desire to help after the successful completion of previous crowdfunding projects on an Anganwadi centre and distribution of solar lamps. “I look forward to contributions from those who wish to play a role in enhancing the infrastructure of our Government schools,” the young civil servant, who was posted in Dadenggre in October last year, said.

Tembe said the lower primary school (up to class V) caters to about 30 students, and is located close to his office. Last month, Conrad visited the Shohphria Government Lower Primary School near Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills, which was renovated recently with his donation of one-and-a-half month’s salary amounting to Rs 3.14 lakh.

The school, which was established in 1956 by the Presbyterian Church, was taken over by the Government after the creation of Meghalaya. The school had remained neglected for over two decades.

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