The importance and need for education in our country no longer remains undermined. Everybody knows how imperative education for survival in today’s competitive society. While the elite and middle-class have easy access to the goods of education, the people at the grassroots are not so fortunate. And so, in order to change the existing scenario it requires the educated to educate those in need of education. Doing exactly this is Varun Shrivastava.
A former IITian, with the help of some engineer-friends, took it upon him to change the face of a village in Nagpur. He had visited the village and felt a sense of helplessness watching the villagers lacking awareness about things such as education, personal hygiene and nutrition. The blankness he saw on the faces of children there pushed him to use his education and acumen to good use.
He and his friends set up an NGO, UPAY (Under Privileged Advancement by Youth) in Nagpur. And soon after they launched a very unique initiative called ‘Footpath shala’ – which is an open school wherein volunteers of UPAY visit footpaths where children beg and live across the city. The initiative has been successful in changing lives of 100 street-kids till date. The kids have attended the open-school and academically excelled. Children in the under-privileged areas who have benefitted from this campaign have cleared class 10 and 12 exams with 100 percent success rate.
Feeling immense pride, Varun talked about his dream, “The vision is When not even a single child will sleep hungry, when every child will get ready in the morning to go to school ,not to traffic signals for begging, not to a dhaba or restaurant for cleaning the utensils, not to pick up rags. Till our vision is not fulfilled, we will have to work very hard.”
Varun Shrivastava: Facebook