“The Archdiocese of Imphal thanks Learn for Life Foundation and Sunbird Trust for their sponsorship of the construction of a new primary school for the Rongmei Naga and Kuki tribal children in the Pinjang area of the Manipur"
Fr. Varghese Velickakam, Archdiocese of Impahl, Manipur
Founded in 2014, Sunbird Trust is a non-sectarian and non-religious Civil Society Organization striving for Peace in conflict affected parts of North East India. Core objectives of Sunbird Trust are to bring communities to live and work together in harmony and to build bridges between people and the Armed Forces. The Trust engages with local communities through educating and empowering underprivileged children.
Sunbird Trust is headed by its Founder-CEO, Col Christopher Rego (Retd.), who served 32 years in the Army, including spending over eight years in North East India. During his tenure in Manipur prior to retirement, Col Chris experienced the conflict firsthand and gained a deep knowledge of the issues that were fueling it and costing society heavily. Using this knowledge, he crystallized his strategy of “Peace Through Education”.
Since rural Manipur tribal families cannot pay even nominal school fees, there is very little money available for school building, tables, chairs, nor is there electricity or Internet.
The old Pinjang school classroom furniture was dilapidated.
Despite the poor facilities, the classes were full of interested students
Students from distant villages lived in deplorable conditions.
The bathrooms are in a dilapidated condition with mud floors, corrugated metal walls and doors and no plumbing
The budget for the construction of the Sunbird Pinjang Freindship School was approximately USD 64,000 (INR 48 Lacs). The budget for the construction of a hostel for students from remote villages was USD 20,000 (INR 15 Lacs). The Sunbird Network and Friends in the USA raised the amount required in less than 30 days and the construction projects were completed ahead of schedule and under budget.
Sunbird Trust seeks to build peace and harmony by engaging with communities in the conflict zone through educating and empowering underprivileged children. Three primary areas of focus are:
11 November 2021 - Clearing and leveling of the land in preparation of the school construction and excavation of the road to the site at Pinjang began.
The road to the site was cut to start hauling materials to the site.
Land leveling and cutting was done with the help of local MLA by way of the mud excavator (JCB).
28th December 2022 - Laidd initial foundation of the school. Rev. Fr. Dr. Varghese Velickakam the procurator of archdiocese of Imphal, and priests from neighboring parishes, accompanied by numerous people from the community took part in this event.
Local members of the community began collecting rocks and materials.
The people of the village in rural Manipur are impoverished. Although they are not able to provide monetary support, they contributed to the construction using manpower. Some folks collected and carried building materials to the job site. Since the road is steep, we contracted a local (Shaktiman), with a 4 x 4 vehicle, to haul sand and stone to the site.
The foundation level is progressing at a rapid rate, thanks to our skilled laborers working diligently to complete the foundation within a 2 week time frame.
30th January 2022 - Work is progressing and tireless laborers alongside enthusiastic members of the community are working hard to complete the construction work
The children are actively helping as well. There is acute water scarcity throughout the area. We have an onsite water holding/collection tank. The children brilliantly collect any overflow from the catchment tank along with bathing water captured in the pit, covered with the polythene. They collect the used water for the construction of their school.
25 February 2022 - The Photo Gallery provides a visual of the project progress
We hope to complete the work by mid-March, 2022.
17 March 2022 - The success in the planning and construction of the Pinjang School is evident because of the dedication and determination displayed by our "team" from Sunbird Trust, Learn for Life and CESM, down through our magnificent committee of teachers/staff and our locals and students alike who have worked tirelessly to have this beautiful school built on time and on budget for our current and future Pinjang students. We couldn't be more proud. Construction should be complete by the end of April 2022.
15 May 2022 – Construction of the school water tank and leveling of the playing ground and basic leveling of the campus was completed in May 2022. This is a ferro cement cost effective water tank with 50,000 Litres of capacity. The technical team who constructed the tank came from Kerala. Plumbing for the water tank and electrification of the class rooms will be done this week. With this, the total work of the school will be completed. The furniture and the teaching aids have been ordered and they will be supplied by mid of June 2022.
The Pinjang school is in a remote area which required an access road to be created
The Pinjang School is in a hilly area which required the land to be leveled before the foundation is built
Water catchment at the construction site used for building and mixing concrete.
Foundation being built on freshly broken ground with the help of local contractors and civilians.
Every brick and stone laid by all these hard working individuals is another day closer to completion.
Stone laid down to absorb the mud in order to put nice flooring down.
Due to insufficient water supply and reserve, we built TWO new holding tanks (cisterns), that hold about 3,500 litres of water each.
A proper roof is vitally necessary due to heavy rainfalls.
Let's 'raise the roof' for the nearly complete Pinjang School!
How beautiful does this new building look! In such a short time, it is complete!
In order to collect their own rain water, the Pinjang School had to start from scratch building their own Rain Harvesting Tank
The Pinjang school is collecting its own water with a Rain Harvesting Tank to ensure there is safe running water on campus.
The classrooms are coming together! Ready to furnish!
The Indian Army unfurled the flag at the new Pinjang School as part of Sunbird's Peace through Education initiative
The Indian Army maintains the peace in the region which ensures the next generation stop the cycle of tribal warfare
The Sunbird Friends helped raise the corpus needed to fund the construction of the new school and hostel
The new school was constructed in six months in time for the commencement of the new academic year.
It started with a request from the Diocese of Imphal to build a new school for the tribal children in Pinjang in December 2021. Sunbird Trust and Learn for Life Foundation swung into action and in less than six months the funds were raised, the land levelled and a new school was built from the foundation up, thanks to the incredible efforts of the diocese leadership and local leaders and volunteers..
A special thank you to all the patrons and donors who made large and small donations which helped us reach our budget within two weeks of making the initial request. Your generous contributions will help educate generations of children and bring peace to this war-torn region of India. Thank you!
Learn for Life Foundation
Call: +1 973-442-2999
Learn for Life Foundation is a non-profit organization staffed by volunteers. LFL is a New Jersey registered non-profit (Registration#: CH3558800) and a United States registered 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. EIN/Tax ID: 45-5070897 DLN:17053319302022
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