Deepak Kumar Munda: Migrant Worker to Social Entrepreneur
I was deeply affected by the migrant crisis that happened during the Covid-19 lockdown when I saw the plight of migrant workers as they returned home. I was involved in relief efforts for them.
In June 2020, I undertook a journey to four states that were deeply impacted by this crisis- Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand and I met 200 migrant workers who had returned home from cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and many others. Their stories were full of pain, but on reflecting on those people, I realized that these stories were not just painful, they were extremely inspirational.
One of the inspirational figures I met was Deepak Kumar Munda, from the village of Khakhra in Jharkhand. “My favourite subjects are Maths and English, Maths because everything has a method in it and English because in today’s world one needs it to survive,” said Deepak.
I was highly impressed by these words and probed into why he had to become a labourer. He said that his dream is to become a teacher, “I want to become a teacher and educate my whole village. I want to give them what I, myself, failed to achieve. Due to financial problems at home, I had to leave my studies after class ten. I became a tutor to earn some money. But my parents believed it wasn’t enough and my uncle was working in a factory in Bangalore, they got me a job there.”
Deepak worked in Bangalore for two months at a salary of 10,000 rupees per month, he became a labourer. When the lockdown was announced his employers refused to come to his aid and he had to ask his parents back home to send money. After spending two months without income and nothing to do, when transport services re-opened he came back to Jharkhand. It had been a month since he came back when I met him, he hadn’t found a source of income.
In December 2020, I travelled to Jharkhand once again to document the stories of social entrepreneurs that Digital Empowerment Foundation was supporting. Suresh, the local coordinator in Jharkhand said: “let’s go and meet Deepak Kumar Munda now.” Having spent the last six months on documenting and compiling the migrant crisis, that name was very familiar to me, and I asked him if it is the same person and Suresh said it was. I was elated.
Now Deepak Kumar Munda has become a SoochnaPreneur (Information Entrepreneur) and joined 1,000 other such entrepreneurs, whose aim is to bridge the digital and information divide that exists in rural India.
To do so, Deepak has combined his responsibility with his passion for teaching – he now teaches 30 children computer, English, Hindi and Mathematics. “I would like to thank Digital Empowerment Foundation for helping me realize my dream and bringing me out of a crisis that seemed to be never-ending,” said Deepak.