A year ago, Wing Commander (Dr.) Thyelnai Dawn Khaling started teaching his maid’s son as an attempt to educate him after he was forced to drop out of school.
Today nine-year-old Sohail is not the only student he has and the class of one has transformed into an eccentric classroom of more than 30 students whose parents have limited means.
Sohail, who dropped out of school, today not only understands English and Hindi, but enjoys learning so much that he eagerly waits for his evening classes.
Dr. Khaling was always keen about educating children and three years ago started a not-for-profit organisation in Manipur to provide pre-medical coaching for poor students who showed promise.
His NGO not only provides free of cost education to its students but also free food and lodging for them.
In 2015, Khaling moved to Bengaluru where in December he asked his domestic help to bring her kids over so he could teach them.
Feeling strongly about education, Dr. Khaling says:
“People should not miss out on education because they can’t pay for it. Education empowers children to face the challenges of the future with dignity.”
Hailing from a small village in Khangshim, Manipur, Dr Khaling says it was his father’s enthusiasm towards education that got him interested in teaching.
His father was the first person to complete his matriculation in Uipo (Khoibu), a Naga community.
Fondly recalling his father Dr. Khaling said:
“My father understood the power of knowledge, and motivated others from our village to get educated. He taught me how even one person’s efforts could bring about a change in society…I am just trying to implement a little that I learnt from my father.”
Belonging to a small community, Dr. Khaling too had faced financial difficulties during his schooldays.
Thus understanding how a dearth of money can hamper education Khaling does everything he can to help those who can’t afford it.
Though he accepts that starting the school of 30 plus was not an easy thing to do and it was only the kids enthusiasm that inspired him to take the initiative on, especially with the help of his Air Force colleagues who regularly contribute to his project.