Helping children fulfill their dreams
When I was going on a visit to an Akanksha school, I thought my visit would take me back to my college days when I used to volunteer with Akanksha. As it turns out, I was transported back to my school days instead! As I sat through a standard 5 Maths class, I began thinking of Mrs. Khullar, my 3rd grade Math teacher. Because the manner of teaching subtraction, which was the topic in progress, was exactly the way I had been taught in school. (The background these children being more difficult than mine is the reason why they are learning in standard 5 what I did in the 3rd standard, at the private school I attended, many years ago.)
I was at the Akanksha school at Shindewadi in Dadar East. Similar to Shindewadi, Akanksha runs 7 more schools in Mumbai. Their structure has changed from the time I used to volunteer with them. At that time (2001-2002), they ran centers and not schools. The difference being that a center runs as an after-school model to effectively fill the gaps of the school system. The reason for this switch was because the school-model, the organisation could aim to achieve sustainable impact.
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How it all began
Akanksha began in 1991 with a simple idea. There were thousands of slum children who needed and wanted to be educated. There were thousands of college students who had the energy, enthusiasm, and time to teach. There existed pockets of available spaces located in schools that seemed ideal teaching environments. The simple idea then, was to bring together the three – kids, student volunteers, and spaces- in schools for children from low-income communities, run by college students.
The implementation of this simple idea was slightly more complex. Over 20 schools said no to a request for space to teach the children. Reactions ranged from “What you are doing is too revolutionary for our private school” to “those children will give our children diseases.” Finally, Fr. Ivo D’Souza, Principal of the Holy Name School opened his doors and the first Akanksha center had found its first space.
You can help The Akanksha Foundation with marketing and designing of their products or volunteer your time. Fill out the volunteer application form on their website to take it forward.
Recognition received by The Akanksha Foundation