Founder Ashley Stanley Kongari (Right), Vice President Frejvid Granbacka (middle), Stefan Sundvik (Donor) left
The history of the organization goes back to days when Ashley Stanley Kongari, the founder and chairman of the organization was just a teenager at a boarding school in India. All the students in the school were very poor and many left the school due to their parents inability to pay their school fees. He felt deserted and lonely at school and the number of students in the school was reduced to 21 in a school which had over 200 students. That was a shock for him as he lost all his friends. During those days a vision was born in his mind and he said that one day he would do something to help such poor students who would never have to leave school in this manner and would have a better future.
He himself became a very hardworking student and at the age of 16 began to work as colporteur in India, selling Christian literature from door to door. It was a hard work but that changed his life. Thereafter, he never lacked money himself and began to help his poor friends at school. After completing his college in India, he went to Sweden for summer job with the Adventist Church. He landed in Stockholm airport on May 19th 1981 with $20 in his pocket which got finished by the time he reached Stockholm city centre. He was picked up by a pastor in the church.
He worked hard in the western coast of Sweden and earned enough money to help his family back home in India and after two summers of hard work in Sweden, he got admitted to a Christian College to study further and later went to the United States and completed his university studies. He financed his studies through door to door salesmanship in Sweden, and Iceland. But always continued to encourage poor children in his community back home in India and helped them to get their education.
While studying in the states, his vision did not fade but got (strengthened?) and he was more determined to fulfill his vision of promoting education among the poor children in his community back home in India. He started to import handicrafts from India and sold them from door to door to raise finance his studies and help others in need. After graduation, he continued to work towards fulfilling his vision.
In 1986 TEACH International was registered as a charity in Sweden and later in 2001 registered in Finland. People cooperated and helped raise good amount of money and the Finnish Government also provided matching funds to build schools, hospital, children’s home and under other development projects to uplift the poor community in India. The result of a vision born in the mind of a teenager and his determination to persevere to fulfill his vision was remarkable. Over 2,000 children who never would have gone to school today go to school to get their education. Thirty primary schools were built in the states of Jharkhand, West Bengal, Assam and even in South India. One hospital was built in Khunti near Ranchi, Jharkhand. Three girls dormitories were built, one children’s home was built for the poor children to live and study. Many small projects, i.e. women empowerment, fishery, bore wells vocational training programmes have been undertaken over the years.
Kongari served as the pastor and in the Adventist church in Finland and Ireland for 9 years but the work load of pastoral work as well as the charity work in India became too heavy. This led him to chose to concentrate more on charity work while continuing to preach the gospel as a freelance preacher. Today he serves three Adventist churches and one Methodist church as a regular freelance preacher. At the same time, the development work in his home region in India continues to be supported in Finland and Sweden. Currently, he is concentrating on building up the libraries for schools that have been built over the years where there are no libraries. He is also concentrating on providing transportation facilities for schools to pick up children from their home to the school to provide education for every child in every village in his home region in India.