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My Story: 6 Yrs Ago, I Started A School Under The Bridge & My Students Are Now IIT-Aspirants

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It all began in 2013 when I was pursuing CA at Thakur College of Commerce and Arts. One fine August evening, when I was returning home, I came across a bunch of kids frolicking happily in the rain. I fondly went on to interact with them and found out that they were actually out there during school time. I learnt that these kids were only enrolled to school to avail the mid-day meal. They were also put into classes as per their age, not their aptitude. Thus, many of them were studying in higher classes without the knowledge of basic alphabets.

This enraged me. I took the decision to spend at least 5 hours every day towards educating these kids. I started visiting them every morning and observed that all the kids left at 9 AM sharp every day; only to go to a temple and beg for alms.

Disheartened, I went up to the kids and bought them food while promising them that they never have to beg for food as long as he is there to educate them. The next day, I set up a little class of my own under the bridge with a whiteboard and a few notebooks. I asked my friend Payal to help me with these kids to which she happily agreed. Eventually, I started spending more time with the kids. I spent Diwali with them. On many days, they shared their food with me. Soon, I grew a strong emotional bond with the children and earned their trust.

When my friends and neighbours saw the incredible progress in these kids, they started helping me in a lot of ways. Despite all the troubles I went through to help these kids, I found the experience extremely rewarding.

After I finished my undergraduate, I wanted to enrol these kids into credible schools to secure their future. But with kids between the ages of 2.5 to 14 years, it was a hard task to cover their tuition fees and other school needs.

Eventually, I contributed some of my savings and also received some financial help from animal activist Christian Lobo, I finally managed to enrol these kids into good private schools.

My work got some limelight after a national news platform interviewed me under the flyover and wrote about my accomplishments with the kids. Thereafter, I was on the radar of several big-scale media houses who supported me to include more kids in my school under the flyover. My work soon gained more validation as my past students were doing brilliantly at their new schools. I went on to recruit 50 more kids in the second year!

I remember my student Akash, whom I met when he was in 8th Standard. I helped to enrol him in a good school and he expressed his wish to prepare for IIT-entrance. Then I admitted him to IIT-entrance coaching in 9th Standard. Today, he is in 12th Standard and will appear for his dream exam soon.
With some of my students now winning awards in different fields, I started taking them to Essel World, Wat media and other places for them to gain more exposure while having some fun. I was invited by a radio channel and was awarded the title of ‘Mumbai Ka Asli Hero.

Prince Kumar Tewari
Prince’s students are winning awards

Problems arose when I had to use the funds to provide the kids with private hospital treatment when they fell sick. I was being praised and applauded but when I needed help with the funds, no one took a step forward. Now that the future of these kids was at stake, I decided to revive hope. With the help of tuitions and by selling handmade artworks I managed to pay their fees.

Prince Kumar Tewari

As metro construction work began in the city, I and my students were suddenly left without a roof over their head.  After so many failed attempts to get enough funding, I came up with a plan of ‘Gurukul’ (self-sustainable community living). My plan could foster 400 more street kids along with the current ones and their parents, who agreed to support their kids’ education by sustainable methods such as organic farming, pottery, and other agro-based cottage industries.  After structuring the whole model and finding a good plot of land, I now had to bring in the capital. I tweeted directly to the PM of India and other government authorities but most of my appeals went overlooked.

I have now decided to rent a school building and make the community project prototype work with around 60% underprivileged students and the rest with children from a well-to-do background in order to help sustain the underprivileged. Though I have convinced a landlord to rent a school building for 5 years, I currently need help to raise money to pay a deposit of 10 lakhs after which I can generate income to pay the rent.

Prince Kumar Tiwari, 24, Jagriti Yatra Volunteer

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2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

96,84,946 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

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It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote

Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
Support the cause you care for. Browse All CampaignsBrowse all campaigns
2,00,000 meals served

KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

96,84,946 Raised
Out of 1,00,00,000

Share

Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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