My story for you with Moirangthem Inaotombi Devi: Founder of Trinity Public School
The Global Shapers Community - Imphal Hub presents

Elizabeth Okram *

Sometimes we all take it for granted, when we are bestowed with all the facilities by our parents to give us the education which they only dreamt of. Today we present to you the struggle of a woman who had to put up a fight with every possible dimensions of life and later went on to establish a school out of true grit and determination. Miss M.Inaotombi Devi in her candid interaction with the Global Shapers Community: Imphal Hub narrated her ordeal of what made her the person she is today.

"I was engaged to an advocate, and that's when fate tested me. My younger brother studying in Bangalore who returned back home diagnosed with a sickness which soon proved fatal, putting an end to all the hopes of the family. However well while trying to console ourselves; the news should not be broken to my ailing mother at her dying bed because those would have been the last words.

I had to disguise and not wear my mourning cloths, while in my hearts I knew I was cheating myself. However this did not last long and my mother too passed away, not able to see my wedding that she had planned for so long. While still nurturing the wounds of losing my dear brother and loving mother, my father who was a diabetic patient too passed away. In a span of 8 months, my entire family was wiped off." What would any normal human being do at such instances and above all a lady left all alone in the family?

Inaotombi was born on 1st August 1962, and as it was prevalent at that time she was made to be a mere observer of the education system in her early life of childhood. Unlike her older sister who got the privilege to be educated being the eldest child, she stood in the corner, deprived of the basic right she deserved. She recalled how she would hide and wait at the gate just to follow her sister to school.

However, persistence within her forced her parents to change their mindset and finally she was sentto school. Nevertheless, year after year, even though she topped her class, convincing her parents to admit her to the higher class was still an uphill climb because for them, girls were only meant to be married off to another family.A typical mindset of Manipuri society that existed during those days.

Defying all odds, she managed to complete her graduation and even went on to do her masters in English at Patna University, a land where only a handful people from the North East and that too a lady struggled the dark racist tease. She told us about her unpleasant experience of beinglooked upon at by everyone in the University as someone alien which some of us even encounter till now.

After completion of her Masters, she came back home and the desire to be a teacher since early age found her a job and she started teaching at Pole star College, Wabagai and then later at Shantilata Memorial Academy.

Life looked so good at that moment, achieved what she always dreamt of and like any other girl she started dreaming of a life partner with whom she will spend the remaining part of her life.And so did come a prospective groom, an advocate with whom she was engaged.

Then as fate played what was in store for her, she was thrown open to circumstances where even the hardest and strongest failed. She was knocked down on her knees. Her entire family was gone in a matter of eight months. "I was as worse as anyone would have been. In my depth of darkness, I saw no more meaning to start a family and so the engagement was called off to the disappointment of so many near and dear ones. I thought I have lost everything in this world and that the sun would never shine for me ever again. I only looked at the setting sun and cry out my despair seeing all my dreams being swallowed up by darkness. My only desire was to go and rest beside my beloved family."

It was as if she was doomed for life. Uncertain future lies ahead, will she quit?

Not likely, there was a calling within her that "Life is not about compromising and giving up", that desire within her as a child to be a teacher showed her lights at the end of the tunnel. Now in such a dilemma the paradox presented to her whether to continue to lament over the loss of her family members or to stand up and follow her heart's desire; she chose the latter.

"Without a penny in my hand, my dream of starting a school looks distant, as ifI were to bring down a star from the sky"-she narrated.

It was the year 2000, when she decided to sell the family's property and start the school she always dreamt of. With the proceeds she received from that sale, she went on to establish the school and admitted the first batch of students that very year.

At present, Trinity Public School is one of the most sought after schools for its quality education in minimal fees with a motto, "Service to Man". There is a provision for orphan where one seat is reserved for each class, free of cost. Future goal of her school include boarding facility and further minimizing the admission fee below 1000 rupees. In 2014 she started the "Trinity Charitable Foundation" to help the down trodden girl children.

Inaotombi has three role models in life - Lal Bahadur Shastri, Mother Teresa and Dr. APJ Abdul kalam from whom she learned all about life and struggle. She believes in all round develop ment of the child-spiritually, mentally, physically and socially.Quoting one of her favorite line "Karma beats Dharma", her message for the youths - "Respect and love your parents and never forget your neighbor."

Now, as she is battling with her failing health, her "Never say Die" spirit keeps her aloof from all negativity. She regards her students' achievement as her own. She is happy and cherishing her dream by being a true leader and inspiration for her students

Fate has different cards rolled up its sleeves for us all. It doesn't matter what card we are thrown at, what matters is how we play along with it and never call it Quit!

Global Shapers are a network of Hubs in all the major cities of the world formed by young achievers who are under 29 years of age working for the betterment of the society all over the world. Imphal Hub is the 450th hub in the world. Global Shapers is an initiative of the world Economic Forum, Geneva. Can be reached at globalshapersmphalhub(aT)gmail(doT)com

* Elizabeth Okram wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on October 31, 2015.

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