Rahul’s mother tells us that his father is an alcoholic. She is the only breadwinner and works from 8 AM to 10:30 PM. No wonder Rahul used to come to school unkempt and had attention deficit disorder. We nurtured him. When exams began, a volunteer sat with him and prodded him to reveal the answers because we knew that he was a good learner. He performed brilliantly.
Encouraged, he now takes far more responsibility for himself. He takes pride in coming to school. His mother says he wakes up on his own and is ready for school at 5am! When she visits his school her eyes well up with tears of gratitude.
In Dharavi, the biggest slum of Asia, our nondescript school is nurturing the dreams of over 350 students like Rahul. For these students, our school is not just a center of learning but it is a place where they can come leaving behind domestic violence, crime and the constant lack of opportunities.
Through our school we have not only educated children but we have influenced the lives of their family members as well. Our teachers lay special emphasis on hygiene, health and individual responsibility. Due to our encouragement, students carry this message back to their homes and communities bringing about a transformation.
How does the journey look so far?
First English medium
school in Dharavi
350 students study
in the school every year
Vocational Training Center
integrated with the school to ensure better employment opportunities to school graduates
How did we work?
Setting up a school in Dharavi had various economic and social challenges including the high cost of real estate and managing local politics. Our primary differentiator however is not that we overcame these challenges, but the way we mentored our students over the years.
Students meditate every day before starting their lessons. In addition to providing students formal education, we lay emphasis on sports and cultural activities. We take our students on trips to broaden their perspective and invite volunteers from various companies to come and interact with the students. The result is that our students grow into well-rounded conscientious citizens.
What did we learn?
One of the biggest learning was to prevent students from dropping out and ensuring high attendance. In many cases our teachers went to meet the parents of students whose attendance had been dwindling and had to coax the parents to take interest in the education of their children. This has helped to retain a lot of students who would otherwise have dropped out of the school.
How can you contribute?
Our biggest endeavor is to ensure that each student who attends our school finds good employment opportunities. We invite corporates to join hands with us to help us educate these vulnerable communities.