Champa Singh: Campaigning to spread awareness about social evils in the community

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In her village, godmen fooling the villagers with magic tricks was becoming a common phenomenon. This primary school teacher, Champa Singh, took it upon herself to raise community awareness about the magic of science. Alongside, her innovation is bridging the gap between school and the parents and creating a more productive learning environment for students inside and outside the school.

For students of an upper primary school in Uttar Pradesh state of northern India, Champa Singh is a role model. Apart from being a teacher, she is also an active campaigner to spread awareness about social evils in the community.

Out of the 1.3 billion population in India, 70 percent live in rural areas. Many of them are illiterate and do not value education enough to encourage their children on the path of learning. Their ignorance, biases toward the girl child and superstitions hinder their social and economic development and their children’s overall development.

The Communities’ growing superstitious beliefs like self-proclaimed godmen producing gold from thin air, making milk out of water or magically producing flowers in their closed fists were disturbing for Singh as they were directly impacting the thought process of the students in the school.

Singh felt that reaching out to the community was paramount for a healthy society as children spend only one-third of their day in school and the rest with their family and friends. “Education has to be around them.”

“A girl child was continuously absent from class. On enquiring, her family told us that she faints every morning while getting ready for school because she is possessed by evil spirits. More such incidents started pouring in that acted as a trigger for me to conduct a science-based show in the village,” Singh said.

She said that she was successful in explaining to the family of the girl that she might be suffering from a psychological problem.

“As a teacher, I strongly felt that it was my responsibility toward my community members to make them aware about what was behind the so called divine tricks- it was magic of science,” she said, adding that she was able to make the community and students think rationally.

Singh is not alone in her efforts. Many government teachers in different Indian states have felt the need and importance of going out to the communities to bring about a positive change in the society and nation as a whole.