Lien and his children in Manipur.
From Britain to France, how Lien Gangte goes around the world raising funds for underprivileged children in the northeast Indian state of Manipur, and organise its first half marathon to help protect the environment.
Lien Gangte is from the Kuki tribal community of Manipur and is one of the rising numbers among Manipuri diaspora who want to give back to their native place in some way.
Being passionate about environment and education and with his extensive experience as a social worker in Britain, Gangte decided to start aid projects in his hometown Kangpokpi/Kanggui in Senapati district of Manipur.
Manipur despite its natural beauty and verdant land has massive underdevelopment and minimal levels of education and healthcare. Increasing depletion of its natural resources with negligible monitoring and lack of awareness among the common people makes this beautiful state in danger of losing its natural resources. The work of people like Lien becomes important especially with state apathy and minimal civil society activism in this neglected state.
Gangte moved to Britain in September 2002 to work with a charity called Careforce as a volunteer in South Wales. He worked for a couple of years with teenagers and children and also went on to get a diploma in health and social care at the Bournemouth and Poole College on the south coast of England. In September 2007, he started working as a manager in a hostel for homeless men at Forest Gate in London. Soon afterwards, Gangte started to sponsor the education of three girls in my village in Kanggui, an area which is stunningly beautiful but faces desperate poverty. He has been raising about 2,000 pounds every year.
By 2010, the word got around and Gangte was approached by a couple of families seeking sponsorship. In London, Gangte sent out an email to some of his friends and raised money to start Kanggui Hope which now works with 12 kids. A couple of years later, Gangte expanded his work to promote environmental conservation by organising the first Sadar Hills Half Marathon which has now had two editions.
Gangte has also helped build a community green space project called the Dr. G. G. Crozier Community Park.
‘My hope for Kanggui Hope is that all the 12 kids will finish their higher education and possibly move on to university and achieve their dreams,’ says Gangte. ‘About the environmental project, I am working with the local schools and other institutions to raise awareness on environmental issues and also build a communal green space. Locals and students are becoming more aware of the issues and things are looking good. People are willing to help and they are ready for positive changes.’
On his part, Lien Gangte is now in France learning French cooking. He hopes that with new skill sets, he would be able to raise even more money for his children back home.
** An original article by Nenem Misao written for Grin.news and reproduced in KanglaOnline.com with the approval of the writer.**