Marni Bodhgaya: stories of transformation

Story of Kumar - Class five student at Marni Bhodhgaya School

The eldest of five children from a remote village near Bodhgaya in rural Bihar, Kumar’s biggest battle in life was to get out of poverty. The only way to do this was to get a good education. But with children in his impoverished village excluded from a formal education and with his father earning less than 20 euros a month, he had to overcome many obstacles in his quest for learning.


“I wanted to study. I wanted to go to school. I knew this was my only way out of poverty for us,” he said. “I knew that I had to have education to understand the world beyond my village.” His first hurdle was persuading his parents to let him go to school, which meant having to forgo his meager earnings he was earning working odd jobs. His mother initially refused to send him to school. “We knew that every rupee he earned was important to our family, but he was very stubborn. He wanted to go to school”, she said.



But there were more problems. The closest school was 14 kilometers away from his house and he had to pay a monthly fee of one euro to attend school. He had to buy books and uniforms and they simply could not afford all these expenses. But Kumar was determined to attend school against all odds. One of the teacher’s at the Marni Bodhgaya school happened to meet him and offered to take him in the school.


Today, despite the 14 kilometers walk each day, he attends school - the Bodhgaya Marni School. He is thrilled at being able to sit in the classes here. “I do not have to pay fees here. They give me all books, uniforms and food for free. I do not have to ask my parents for money. This is great. I finally have a chance at changing my life,” he said.


Stories like Kumar’s provide inspiration for all of us. Sanjeev, the school principal, echoes, “I am so pleased for Kumar in all the success he is having here. He is a brilliant student and he dreams of studying architecture and building beautiful big schools and colleges. And I am going to make sure his dreams come true.”