PATHSHALA- each one, teach one Back in 2007, when a group of vigorous youth in Surat were chilling out, the idea of Pathshala incepted in their minds. Determined to make a change, these successful entrepreneurs realised the importance of education among the lesser privileged classes of the society. That’s how an NGO was born to bring in the real meaning of education.
Step that began the beautiful yet aspiring journey ‘Pathshala’ was started in 2007 when these young students wanted to help and bring smiles on faces of underprivileged kids. In 2008, they started a hobby centre at a municipal school in Vesu, Surat with the help and support of the local authorities. The hobby centre managed to get few computers donated by some builder and since then, things started rolling. Pathshala did not look back due to the enormous support and ceaseless efforts of the team. In 2009, they also started celebrating annual function in the school, where all the 500 kids would get to perform on a stage. With an education model where the holistic growth and development of the students is given as much importance as academic grades, Pathshala was able to infuse an activity-based education among the kids.
Breaking new grounds Last three years have witnessed the hobby centre focusing on teaching academics as well. The basics of subjects are taught through innovative activities. It provides one-on-one attention to the weak students with counseling they need due to the poor growing conditions. Every year Pathshala hosts a summer camp, as well as a leadership camp for all the kids. It includes wide range of activities from robotics to art and craft, astronomy and martial arts. In 2013, the group got registered as Pathshala Educational Trust and made a core team for taking important decisions.
Devising opportunities Apart from catering to primary education, Pathshala also sponsors higher education of the students who wish to study further. The NGO realised that some of these underprivileged kids need financial help to continue their education and that’s where they brought in scholarship programs. They introduced, “sponsor a student program” wherein anyone can take the responsibility of a kid’s education. On an average, it comes to Rs 11,000 per year including fees, books and other expenses. The sponsorship is not just available for the school kids, but for any kid who genuinely needs it. Today, Pathshala sponsors over 30 students every year that have doctors, engineers, journalists and students from schools. The sponsorship is entirely based upon academics. Initially, Pathshala worked with a “no donation” strategy wherein the funds were gathered by various events such as rock band shows, collecting and reselling scrap from across the city and so on. Just less than a year ago, it started accepting donations proportionate to the number of deserving students who needed sponsorship for higher education.
Example that has set examples The team sites a simple example of a student, who used to come from a distant small village to Surat for studying journalism. He used to walk from station to university for 10 km daily up and down to reach. They sponsored his education and got him a job and a bicycle. Later, he got selected for a fellowship from Gujarat and after that he became a journalist and went back to his village and started a community radio there. Today, he himself sponsors education of children. Such stories keep them energized to do more.
Vision further Pathshala Educational Trust is where the youth is inspired to be socially involved in making a qualitative difference to the society we live in. Although farfetched, Pathshala aims at reaching out to more number of municipal schools in Surat and then, to reach out to more cities across the country.
The Logical Indian applauds these young bloods, who were invincibly successful to bring down the dropout ratio in school to almost zero, in a span of eight years. When things went good, their motivation and desire to do better simply escalated. Submitted By – Mansi Saini