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Honouring Her Father – Portia Putatunda

“Honouring Her Father: Ex-Journalist Establishes Free Boarding School in India’s Highest Village”

Portia Putatunda’s fondest memory of her late father is of him playing and singing nursery rhymes with children, reflecting his love for kids and education.

Inspired by her father’s legacy, Portia established a free boarding school under the Planet Spiti Foundation in Komic, Himachal Pradesh, India, the highest village in the country.

She originally pursued a career in journalism, working with organizations like The Times of India and CNN before quitting to follow her passion for education and helping underprivileged children.

Portia first visited Spiti Valley in 2013 and fell in love with the place, but it was her second visit in 2018, following her father’s passing and her struggle with depression, that led her to stay in the valley.

Her journey in Spiti began by teaching local children in exchange for accommodation with a local family, and she soon noticed the dire need for education among underprivileged kids in the region.

Portia started by teaching English, singing rhymes, and art to children in Kaza and later expanded her efforts to remote villages in the area.

She faced challenges in convincing parents to send their children to school as many believed their kids could earn a living by working instead.

Portia established a free boarding school in Komic in 2022 under the Planet Spiti Foundation, which now houses around 10 children aged 8 to 10.

She sees herself as a mother figure to these children, many of whom are not orphans but live in poverty-stricken conditions.

Portia’s daily routine involves waking up to the children’s laughter, preparing breakfast, and teaching them various subjects and activities.

The children’s age ranges from three to ten years, and they engage in classes until 5 o’clock in the evening.

Funding has been a consistent challenge for Portia, and she sometimes struggles to provide basic necessities for the children, but she remains motivated by their smiles and purity.

Portia acknowledges her moments of self-doubt but believes she is a medium for the fate of these kids and hopes to make a positive impact in their lives.

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