It was not an easy childhood for Subonenba Longkumer who lost his parents at a very young age. He belonged to Kangtsung village located in Tuli subdivision in Mokokchung district. His father O Yanger Longkumer was a pioneer in education in his village. He was an MA in Economics from Guwahati University and had worked as a labour officer at the Tuli Paper Mill. However, he died of cancer at the age of 47. Subonenba Longkumer’s mother was one of the first few women to have studied till class VI. She later worked as a receptionist in the company’s hospital but could still manage to send her children to school. 3 years after her husband’s demise, she died of stroke. After his mother’s death, Subonenba Longkumer and his siblings got separated looking for shelter. Subonenba went to his uncle’s home.
With the help of his well wishers, Subonenda managed to complete his education Being a firm believer in God, he was a regular visitor to the church. Later he also worked as the chowkidaar for two consecutive years with an incentive of ₹500 per year.
Subonenba Longkumer: His journey
During college, he came across a project in Dimapur started by World Vision India, a non profit organization which worked on improving the lives of child laborers through education. Being a former child laborer himself, Subonenda was determined to help such children who could not afford education. Even after applying twice, he did not get a job at the NGO but was offered the job of a driver. He agreed to this offer. He started working for ₹2,000 per month.
During his time at the NGO, he began interacting with the kids there. He later joined as a teacher in of the schools that came under the NGO. The school had 160 students and 8 teachers. Gradually, Subonenda took over the working of the school. The school was unregistered and there were no funds to run it. So he sold his second hand car for ₹1.47 lakh and paid the teachers.
A friend in the United States gathered ₹1.86 lakh and helped Subonenda buy the land of the school. Today, they are running more than 15 schools across the state.
They are working for the cause of child labor, are spreading awareness about child rights by conducting seminars and giving talks at schools and colleges.
One of the greatest contributions will be the introduction of the Child line 1098 National Toll-Free number.