While most of us used to complain about waking up early in the morning to go to school, many children all over the world do not even get to utilise their basic right to education. There are many underprivileged children in India itself, who would love to go to school and receive proper education but are unable to do so for reasons more than one. For such underprivileged children of Bodh Gaya, Jeanne Pere, who is commonly referred to as “Mummy Ji” by the locals, has been a saviour in disguise.

Pere, with the help of a charitable trust, has established a residential school for the underprivileged children of Bodh Gaya, where they are to receive primary education. Along with that, they are also to receive basic amenities such as food and lodging free of cost. Pere does this entirely out of her passion for serving the underprivileged children of the community. She has worked with Missionaries of Charity under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa prior to this. At present, the school is home to nearly 150 children of Bodh Gaya.

When asked about the school, Pere says that they tried to persuade the parents of about 150 local children to send their children to school and break out of the conventional pattern of life that they led there. Ten years of steady effort allowed Pere and her colleagues to manage to breakthrough, and the local parents began to visit the school. Upon consultation from local and overseas intellectuals and guides, Pere decided to educate the children in foreign languages, with special emphasis on French and English. Pere claims that now, they have groomed over 25 children in the language out of whom around thirteen children will be pursuing the language further overseas.

Bodh Gaya School As many as thirteen children, out of whom seven are girls, are now set to leave for France to continue learning French there. All of these children are already well acquainted with the basics of French and have cleared a formal examination in the same to prove their qualification to pursue the advanced course in the language. 

The secretary of the charitable trust, Munna Paswan, when asked about the departure time of the children, says that they have already applied for a study visa for the children, which should ideally be completed within two months.

The goodwill and collective efforts of people like Jeanne Pere and Munna Paswan have allowed the underprivileged children of Bodh Gaya realise potential and skills within them that they would have never expected existed within them. Due to the unabashed effort and persistence of Pere, a number of these children are now going overseas to expand on their learning to create a brighter future for themselves. 

We have all always heard the saying, “Be the change you want to see.” Applying that saying, we can all take a page out of Pere’s notebook and try to create a better world for those who are less fortunate than us.