Little Engine That Could Gives Schoolkids Their Desired Happy Ending

A dream comes true for Indian schoolchildren thanks to a repurposed train.

Jan 31, 2020

A group of happy primary school kids is celebrating that their education is now back on track in Mysuru in the state of Karnataka, near Bangalore, India. This is all thanks to the kind donation of two former train coaches, now creatively reimagined and recreated as classrooms in a reported world first.

In a country where education can’t always be taken for granted, these kids, most of whom come from low-income families, can now enjoy what locals called Nali Kali, which translates to a joyful learning environment.

It’s not so long ago that school attendance at the government-run Ashokapuram Primary School started dwindling. Teachers attributed these falling student numbers to the school’s lack of a permanent home, with pupils often moved between assorted railway department buildings.

The school then decided to team up with a CSR-minded local railway company, South Western Railways, to convert two older train carriages that were considered unfit for service. One coach has been divided into two classrooms. The second has been transformed into a room for the school’s activities and meetings.

The coaches were completely redesigned by South Western workshop employees who volunteered to refurbish and paint the coaches.

The interiors were equipped with lighting, fans, and rows of wooden desks as well as stairways. Modern teaching aids also feature. These new school spaces were then adorned with colorful paintings.

The carriage exteriors were decorated with upbeat murals in bright colors depicting ecological themes. And as you can see, the redesign is stunning!

Bio toilets, which utilize anaerobic bacteria to convert waste material into water and gas, have also been installed outside the coaches.

Attendance is now up significantly. “At present, the school has 60 students from standard 1st [grade] to 7th,” said a spokesman for South Western Railways.

Clearly the welcoming, if unconventional, repurposed school environment is proving to be a magnet for pupils. Among them are several new faces, drawn by the quirky new classrooms to commit to regular classes and the universe of opportunities that education can bring them.

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DAPHNE KASRIEL ALEXANDER, EDITOR IN CHIEF
Daphne has a background in editing, writing and global trends. She is inspired by trends seeing more people care about sharing and protecting resources, enjoying experiences over products and celebrating their unique selves. Making the world a better place has been a constant motivation in her work.