An NGO Which Provides Free Software Engineering Training To Underprivileged Students

The Logical Indian

March 3rd, 2017


Only 2% students in rural areas have access to higher education. Access is limited by various factors like costs involved, or level of proficiency required to clear the entrance examinations. We are a country with World’s largest youth population. At the same time, we are a country with one of the lowest higher education penetration.

NavGurukul is a non-profit alternative to the college education by providing access to software engineering training to underprivileged. Students stay in a residential facility and mostly learn in peer groups that they form amongst themselves. Currently, there are ten enrolled students who learn and live at NavGurukul. The course runs for a year. It has been four months, and students can already make websites in HTML, CSS and Javascript. Some of the students are also proficient with Python and are now learning AngularJs. Additionally, these students take out two hours every day to train students in the nearby community in basic English and Computers to pay it forward.

Students destined to deliver boxes or load/unload materials from trucks are learning to code. The transformation from not knowing how to copy a file, to be able to make websites took about two months of their 1-year journey with us. Interestingly, they are also translating books and online content to Hindi while honing English skills.

Shivam had been living in a shelter home since his 6th class. Though keen on learning Science, he joined Commerce to save on expenses. After school, he started working at a call center, which made its money by scamming people. Today, he can code as well as a third year Engineering student from a typical tier II college.

A commerce student, Rahul wanted to run his own business while in school. His dad drives a car under a private contractor. Lack of finances and opportunities made Rahul join Chicago Pizza after class XII. Interested in farming and education, Rahul wants to teach more students once he graduates from NavGurukul.

Shakruddin is gifted with a melodious voice, and he wanted to work on it. But the luck got worse of him when due to the death of his mother he had to quit school and start working in a beauty salon to support his younger siblings. Today, he is designing and developing websites. He will soon start freelancing in parallel to make some extra money.

Blessed with a year old son, Dhannu was fired from Snapdeal where he used to pack boxes because of low demands. Later he was working as a factory worker in a pharmaceutical company. Before NavGurukul he didn’t see any point to education because he was doing similar work before and after his BA degree. Now, he wants to get himself placed in Snapdeal as a Software Engineer.

NavGurukul was started by an IIT Delhi alumnus Abhishek Gupta and a high school dropout Rishabh Verma. Abhishek founded two startups in the past – (acquired) and FranklyMe (raised 2.6M$ from franklyMe), and worked with the Education Department, Delhi Government after that. Realizing that even after completing high school, students have limited options. Most of the initiatives focussed on providing skills enough for them sustain, but far from the aspirations that the students hold. He asked whether it would be better to provide Software Engineering training directly to students instead of them having to go through the cumbersome, expensive and uncertain route of taking admission in a college? The answer was a resounding yes!

Rishabh is a self-learnt programmer. He dropped out of school after his tenth class seeing the meaninglessness of it, and instead started his startup when he was 16. Aged just 21, Rishabh personifies the success that NavGurukul aspires for each of its students. When most are looking for high paying jobs, Rishabh was a part of the founding team at Airwoot, which was later acquired by Freshdesk. He then spent a year in mountains, before co-founding NavGurukul with Abhishek.

Being a non-profit NavGurukul, it relies on donations for its operations. Initially funded by the co-founders, Abhishek & Rishabh, NavGurukul is now raising some funds on a public platform. NavGurukul works on a pay-it-forward model where current students will be paying for future students once they get placed.To find out more, visit their website or write to them at [email protected].

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