From teaching just five children in a rented house in Delhi, Deepalaya has grown to become Delhi’s largest operating NGO. Working in 149 slums in the capital, 126 villages in Haryana and 90 villages in Uttarakhand, the organisation has reached out to about 50,000 children, their families and communities over 35+ years. As their main founder T.K. Mathew put it, “Wholesome education,” is their main focus. They also direct efforts to the girl child where ever possible – 50 per cent of their children are girls.
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How it began at Deepalaya
“I was born in Cochin but the entire family, excluding my father, moved to our native village while I was still very young. Since my father stayed away and visited us occasionally, we were brought up under the strict discipline of our mother. My mother was someone who would not tolerate anything, which was not right or ethical. So in the whole village, people used to cite our example for the way we were brought up and the way our family used to be managed. We belong to a particular Christian community so we had a church. As Christians, our day used to begin with the Morning Prayer. Besides prayers, we used to regularly read our Bible. We used to be regular in the Sunday school, church and other fellowships organised in the church. So bringing up has made a difference and inculcated certain life skills and religious values. Deepalaya is a direct result of my value system.”