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Good News!! Joining this Bihar Coaching Institute Cost You Only 18 Saplings

Aunique Institute in Bihar's hinterland is attempting to address two pressing issues at the same time: global warming & unemployment. It is a coaching institute with an admission fee of only 18 plants.

Shivam Dwivedi
18 Saplings to join this Institute
18 Saplings to join this Institute

"Without this institute, I would not have had the opportunity to further my education. It has influenced both my career and my future. I just can't put my feelings into words," says Piyush Kumar (son of a poor grocer in Rosera, a municipal town in Samastipur district), who recently accepted a position with the Income Tax Department in Delhi. He passed the exam on his first try.

Baljit Kumar, who works for Indian Railways, attributes his career to the institute as well. Baljit's father was a poor mason in the Samastipur district who could not afford to pay for his son's education. “One day, a local student brought me here and introduced me to Suman, who asked for 18 saplings as admission fees. I learned the fundamentals of how to compete for government jobs here. I eventually got a job on the railways," said Baljit.

Piyush and Baljit are among the 650 or so young people who have gotten government jobs after attending BSS Club, a free coaching institute run by Rajesh Kumar Suman, a 34-year-old environment and climate-change activist in the northern Bihar town of Rosera.

Suman founded the institute in 2008 and has since coached over 10,000 youths for free. Aside from the 650 in government service, many others have found work in the private sector. Suman claims that the 18-sapling rule is not set in stone. You can also send him a photo of yourself with planted saplings. If you don't own land, he suggests planting trees on public land. However, he prefers fruit-bearing plants because they increase income in the villages where they are planted.

Reason for the 18 saplings:

"I read somewhere that a man inhales as much oxygen as 18 plants produce in his lifetime. As a result, I ask the students to donate 18 plants as an admission fee," Suman explains. Over the last 14 years, the institute has received approximately 1.7 lakh saplings from students and planted them in districts throughout north Bihar, including Samastipur, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Khagaria, and Muzaffarpur.

“The goal is to instil in the state's youth the value of environmental conservation. How will people survive unless the environment is protected? It is everyone's responsibility to save the environment. Only 15% of Bihar is currently covered in green cover.," Suman explains.

But how does the institute function if no money is collected? Suman claims that they have volunteer teachers who also work full-time. Suman makes his living through farming. It wasn't easy at first because the villagers boycotted him. "When I went with saplings to promote greenery, I was initially pushed away from social functions and wasn't even allowed to attend feasts. They called me a 'pagal' (crazy), but I never let my confidence waver."

They now invite him as the chief guest and even print his name on wedding invitations, birthday cards, and so on. The institute has classes for both boys and girls, and the number of female students is growing. They attend morning classes, while boys attend evening classes. Suman has cleverly linked his plantation drive to girl-protection campaigns by asking villagers to plant saplings for their daughters just outside their homes.

“You will miss your daughters after they marry, but the trees will remind you of them and bear fruit," he says. He requests that the girls plant saplings with their own hands. Suman has adopted four villages for extensive plantation and claims that the saplings have a 100% survival rate.

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