Lokendra Singh Sisodia, Lal Bahadur Shashtri College, Pratapgarh, Rajasthan
Lokendra, hailing from a farmer’s family, migrated to Pratapgarh, Rajasthan, in search of job opportunities. “I juggled night shifts in different companies and even operated a paan stall to make ends meet while pursuing my computer science degree,” says Lokendra, reflecting on the hardships faced by many students like him who had to leave their villages for higher education. Motivated by a desire to give back to his community, Lokendra decided to offer computer science education in Pratapgarh. He strongly resonated with the sentiments expressed by late APJ Abdul Kalam, who emphasized that “when the goal of education is solely to secure a job, society will only produce servants.”
With this vision in mind, Lokendra set out to empower and inspire students to reach new heights in their careers in rural Pratapgarh.
Challenges piled up
Mr. Lokendra said, “He arrived in Pratapgarh with only Rs 27 in his pocket, with a dream of starting a college despite not knowing where to begin. However, With the support of his friends, he managed to acquire four computers and commenced offering computer education in 1997, operating out of a rented space”. Even when one of the computers was unfortunately stolen, Lokendra remained undeterred in pursuing his aspirations. Moreover, the limited number of government vacancies in the field of computer science at that time discouraged students from pursuing computer education. However, Lokendra’s dedication bore fruit as he successfully enrolled 84 students in the college’s inaugural year.
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From nowhere to being an example
What started with just 84 students has now grown into a thriving college with a student body of over 1500. Offering a diverse range of courses including computer science, commerce, arts, and science, Lokendra’s College has become a shining example of quality education in the community. Supported by a dedicated staff of approximately 55 individuals, the college is committed to providing quality education and empowering its students.
But Lokendra’s contributions extend beyond the college walls. He also serves as the chairman of Digital Associate. With a visionary outlook, Lokendra seeks to bridge the digital divide and ensure equal access to technology for all.
COVID-19, opportunities and Achievements
Mr. Lokendra said, “He perceives challenges as opportunities for growth and transformation”. During the pandemic, when internet facilities were limited for many, the professors found innovative ways to continue delivering education. Through conference calls and virtual platforms, we conducted lectures, ensuring that learning never ceased,” Lokendra ensures.
Even in the face of adversity, Lokendra’s College remained resilient. They engaged students in practical activities, fostering self-sufficiency and creativity. From crafting LED lamps and producing soaps to making paper bags and rubber slippers, these initiatives not only instilled practical skills but also earned recognition and admiration within the community.
The leader’s dedication and commitment to education have had a profound impact. The college’s achievements and community engagement have sparked a renewed enthusiasm for learning, leading to a surge in enrollment. “Students and their families recognize our spirit and the college’s commitment to holistic education.”
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A transformative collaboration with Varthana
When faced with the need for financial support to further develop his college, Lokendra explored various options, including bank loans. However, he encountered frustrating delays in the process. Determined to find a solution, he came across Varthana and decided to seek their assistance. To his delight, within a remarkably short span, his loan request was approved and the funds were disbursed.
This crucial partnership with Varthana empowered Lokendra to complete the construction of two additional floors for the college building even during the challenging period of lockdown.
Vision for a bright future
Looking ahead, Lokendra envisions an even more expansive and dynamic college. In 2023, he plans to introduce new courses, including Journalism, and offer master’s degrees in Arts, Commerce, and Science. With a steadfast commitment to holistic education, Lokendra is also dedicated to providing skill development opportunities for every student. He is actively working on implementing skill development classes within the college, ensuring that students not only excel academically but also acquire the practical skills needed to succeed in their chosen fields.
From humble beginnings to remarkable achievements, Lokendra’s journey is an inspiration to all. His relentless pursuit of excellence, coupled with his belief in the power of education, has transformed countless lives. Lokendra’s story serves as a testament to the transformative potential that lies within individuals who dare to dream and work tirelessly to turn their dreams into reality.