A file photo of the students in the temporary study hall at Yimpang Urban Sochum.
A file photo of the students in the temporary study hall at Yimpang Urban Sochum.

Yimpang villagers join hands for community upliftment

Moses Hongang Chang
Tuensang | November 8

For many students of Yimpang village in the far-flung Chingmei range of Tuensang district, lack of access to study materials and educational guidance are often the biggest obstacles standing in the way of their goals and dreams. 

The community in the small village which has approximately 60 households shared a collective dream of providing a better study set up. 

With this in mind, in 2014, the Yimpang students’ union decided to set in motion a separate study centre called the ‘Yimpang Urban Sochum’ for students appearing their matriculation examination.

After getting good results that year, the union approached the families and eventually registered seven students who joined the Sochum for the next academic session (2015).

The name for the study centre integrates ‘Sochum’ – the Chang-Naga word for traditional dormitories and the town where the concept was implemented.

A well wisher offered a space on his property which had a small room with CGI sheet roofing and bamboo walls, till proper infrastructure could be arranged.

Success stories

Tonching Khumla and Shangmong Lemba who are pursuing 3rd year B. Tech (Civil Engineering) in Tripura were among the seven students who joined the Sochum in 2015.

The students shared that their stay there has not only helped them academically but also boosted their personality development and career choices.

This can be attributed to the contributions of several community members from different professions who tutored the students on various subjects.

According to Tonching who joined right after the selection exam results were declared, mathematics and science were the subjects she could not grasp well.

“I was particularly weak in Mathematics and Chongshen (graduate teacher) was very meticulous in his teachings and learning maths became easier. Science was also one subject where I needed guidance and Chollen (now Secretariat Assistant) who was then preparing for NPSC came and taught us Science,” Tonching said.

Study hours at the Sochum were held from 6:00 am to 8:00 am in the morning followed by another session from 5:00 pm till 11:30 pm with half an hour breaks in between.

The routine has evidently stuck with students who have since moved on to pursue higher education.

“I have seen most of my hostel mates getting tired after studying for an hour or two but I can study easily for 8 to 9 hours in one stretch,” shared Shangmong who cleared the matric exams with good scores and got direct admission into Holy Cross Higher Secondary School in Dimapur.

“In Sochum we also were made to read different books such as Manorama and other competitive books, which I think has only, broadened my knowledge,” Shangmong said.

He added, “One of the reasons why I decided to join was because I didn’t get time to study at home and at Sochum we will get our doubts cleared and guidance from the subject experts. The previous batch result was also a deciding factor for me.”

Seeking to provide holistic development for the students, the Sochum held prayer meetings at church in the evening with Rev H Sangkap, Pastor TTBL, who would also visit the centre occasionally.

Rev Dr Chingmak and his wife Phutoli, Thonti Chang (Junior Engineer) was among the few counsellors, mentoring the students. Besides such personalities, the student leaders, parents and O Akum, a post graduate teacher, were always there to guide the students.

All these became a uniting factor for the village and took the Sochum beyond being just a study centre.

One of the students’ advisors said that, “For me, the Urban Sochum is more than a study centre. It brought the families together, because during the study hours, parents would come to visit and mothers took turns in preparing tea every night.”

This is the first of a two part series.