Thursday, June 13, 2024

West Khasi Hills hamlet sans school, health amenities


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By Ronald stone Syiem

The bamboo structure used as a school, a Church and a Dorbar hall in Sawlad village. (ST)

 NONGSTOIN: Sawlad, a beautiful hamlet located near Assam border in West Khasi Hills District, is deprived of even the basic educational and health facilities. Around 48 households live in the vicinity that sans a health centre and a basic school is run by the villagers in a thatched bamboo house since 2005.

The lone teacher who has been teaching here voluntarily survives on a meagre contribution of Rs 679 per month made by the villagers. He taught around 100 students beginning from nursery to the third standard in the same so called classroom which is also used for prayer services and other social gatherings.

The children from the village have no option but to forsake education once they are through with the third standard. “Villagers are very emotional when faced with any question relating to their children’s future,” said a resident.

Interestingly, during a visit by media persons in nearby border areas it was found that not only Sawlad but other neighbouring villages also share the same plight when it comes to education and healthcare facilities.

Maila Dkhar, Sordar of Patharshipiah, told The Shillong Times that children who have passed the class III have to conclude their studies and think of their future in a different light.

Though the Education department claims to spend hefty sum to reduce the drop out rate, neglect of these villages located in the border areas mar the entire cause,” sources said.

Apart from the lack of educational facilities, the health care system is another worrisome factor for the villagers. In the absence of any health centre, neither the government nor any of the NGOs have offered help since the setting up of the hamlet. That the village is located in a malaria prone area adds to the misery of the people.

“The villagers use local herbs for malaria treatment. If the patient gets serious the villagers have no option but to walk for a day and a night to Mairang town for further medical treatment.” P. Mawdoh Sordar Shnong told The Shillong Times.

Things worsen during the rainy season when the Umiin river is on surge and villagers have to wait for days till the river recedes. “Critical situations like these led to many deaths,”he added.


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