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Online painting auction unveiled to fund tea estate school’s staff salaries

September 17, 2020
– Dipta Joshi

Dhruv Bheda, a grade 12 student of the Gurgaon-based Kunskapsskolan International School (estd. 2013), will auction his paintings to collect funds for continuing education of children living in and around the tea estates of Darjeeling. The 17 year old avid painter has offered five of his paintings to leading humanitarian organisation, the Sustainable Environment and Ecological Development Society’s SEEDS initiative – ‘Art for a Cause’ project that will fund the functioning of the privately run, not-for-profit Evergreen English School (EES) (estd. 1983).

Located in Darjeeling, West Bengal’s Pokhriabong tea estate, the Evergreen English School is a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated English-medium primary school offering class I-VI education. The school’s 70 students are children of daily wage workers from the surrounding tea estates. With many tea gardens in Darjeeling not paying wages to their workers since the lockdown period, the school authorities waived off school fees of the children of these workers while continuing to pay the salaries of teachers and non-teaching staff. However, now the school itself is in need of assistance to continue conducting its classes for the local children and pay salaries to the schools teaching and non-teaching staff during the current pandemic.

Dhruv who has volunteered with SEEDS earlier too has helped raise funds in the past to help victims of a natural calamity had shared his paintings with the non-profit even before the drive for EES was announced in August this year. That his paintings were going to fund young students like himself came as a pleasant surprise. “As a student, all my charitable endeavors were limited to raising funds through my pocket money, friends and family but my art is my own work and I feel this is one of the best ways I can contribute. I am thankful that SEEDS has considered my art worth auctioning for an educational cause. It is very encouraging for a student like me. It has also made me realise money is not the only way we can contribute for a good cause, we should encourage people to use their skills to raise funds too,” says Dhruv. 

Launched on September 3, the SEEDS auction will showcase 17 curated paintings on the online platform, https://sites.google.com/view/seedsartforacause/the-paintings.

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