Mumbai: Kalpana Jadhav, mother of a seven-year-old boy, quit her school education 19 years ago due to financial constraints. Working as a Class-4 employee with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for many years now, she had lost all hopes of studying again.
Encouragement from her boss Udaykumar Shiroorkar who is an assistant municipal commissioner, Kalpana and 22 other civic body workers like her got a chance to go back to the books again.
While they swept roads, cleaned manholes and repaired pipelines during the day, night time was dedicated to studies. Their perseverance and hardwork paid off and all 23 workers, aged between 30 and 50, cleared their Class X exams.
With a matriculation certificate in their hands, they now hold bright chance of salary increments and promotions.
“I am a matriculate today and all the credit goes to Shiroorkar saheb without whose support it would not have been possible,” 37-year-old Nilesh Sawant, a road maintenance worker with the civic body, told PTI.
Mr Shirookar not only persuaded us to study but also helped us in filling up forms and studies, said Mr Sawant who scored 62 per cent in Maharashtra Board’s Seconadary School Certificate Exams (SSC).
Jayashree Kamble, another worker said, “I am happy that I will now be acknowledged as a literate person in our department.”
“The two women workers, Jayshree Kamble and Kalpana Jadhav, travel a distance of around 44 km every day to work and after that they attended the school. Their efforts are paying back now,” Mr Shirookar told PTI.
While spearheading the campaign to improve literacy level among the civic body’s Class-4 workers, Mr Shirookar has also given a fresh lease of life to Dongri Municipal School which was going to be shut down last year due to non-availability of students.
As the news about workers’ achievements spread, the confidence levels of other employees have also gone up. “I am flooded with requests to enroll them in school for the next academic year, which is a good sign,” said Mr Shirookar.
(With Inputs From Press Trust Of India)