Added on : 2019-09-12 15:21:06
The inspiring journey has not only set an example for other teachers, but earned her accolades from all quarters. Despite all odds, she hasn’t missed a single class over the last 10 years. This daily sacrifice, she feels, will have a greater impact on her students.
Binodini Samal, 49, is a teacher of Rathiapala primary school in Dhenkanal district of Odisha. Samal has to cross neck deep neck-deep swollen river during monsoon to reach her school. Samal has been teaching in the primary school since 2008 as a 'Ganasikshyak' one of the thousands of contractual teachers appointed by Odisha school and mass education department.
During monsoon, for Samal and headmistress Kananbala Mishra, reaching the school becomes a Herculean task. The headmistress and students may sometimes miss the school due to the raging river during monsoon, but not Samal. Two days ago, the photos of Samal crossing the wading the neck deep water went viral on Facebook. With her phone and other crucial items kept safely in a plastic bag, Samal crosses the river with one hand holding her bag overhead. Despite being a good swimmer, there were several occasions that Samal has been close to getting washed away.
Elaborating on how she reaches School:
I always keep a spare set of saree, petticoat and blouse in school almirah. While crossing the river, I keep my mobile phone and other necessary items in a plastic bag and keep it overhead while swimming through the river. I change into the school uniform of pink saree after reaching school all wet and soggy. I repeat the routine while going home. Even though I have fallen sick sometimes, I have never taken a day off.
“If I don’t go to school, how will my students study? But the problems are plenty. Once while crossing the river, I was swept away by the strong current. Somehow I managed to hold the branch of on the river bank. Still I am not perturbed,’’ she says in a tone of dedication.