Early this year, Shikhar Gupta, a software engineer at CISCO, decided to tread on the path of social entrepreneurship. In spite of his workplace responsibilities and numerous other activities crowding his day, he made a choice to take some time out for things that he really cared about – for giving a better future to those children who were devoid of equal opportunity in society. Even before he had started the Bright Child Foundation to serve these goals, he was running a small book bank for children in Bangalore. In this interview with Unnati Narang, Shikhar Gupta unfolds the story behind his social initiatives:
Why did you start Bright Child Foundation? What kind of need did you foresee that you aim to fulfil through your work at the Foundation?
The idea behind Bright Child Foundation was to make a real difference in the lives of those who really need it. During my student years, I was working in an NGO based out of Allahabad. The organisation’s efforts in improving the literacy rate of the masses were commendable but I was unable to align my goals with the goals of the NGO. That is when I thought of starting an organisation which does not concentrate on masses and goes up to the next level and shape the children in such a way that they can get employed and improve their living conditions.
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What is the main objective of your NGO? How do you plan to achieve it?
As I said our main objective is to bring about a difference in the lives of needy people around us, which I believe is not possible by only teaching them English or Mathematics. We need to provide them vocational training or help them with their higher studies; this will eventually improve their living conditions and that of their dependents. I plan to do this by initially identifying the needy children, give them rigorous training to get them at par with the children from main stream schools. Then we will look forward to find sponsors/ Foster Parents for these children to get them admitted into main stream schools. After that, we will either provide vocational training or support these kids for higher studies.
In what ways is Bright Child Foundation different from other NGOs?
The Foster Parent concept builds a unique relationship between a kid and the sponsor. It is like virtually adopting a kid, while outsourcing the fostering process. This is where the concept is unique. I believe every NGO/NPO is started with a motive to do something good so I am not sure if our NGO is different from others in any way.
What has been the impact of your work so far?
So far we have been able to find investors for 30 underprivileged kids. They have been admitted into mainstream schools by collaborating with Samridhi Trust, based out of Bangalore. We have also started 2 bridge schools in Bangalore whose kids will be admitted into mainstream schools next year. We are also about to start a bridge school in Hyderabad. We are also providing support to other NGOs by collaborating with them, providing them volunteers, etc because at the end what matters is the overall we will make in the society.
What are your future plans for Bright Child Foundation?
In future, we are looking forward to starting a vocational training support and get more and more children admitted into mainstream schools. We want to handhold them even for their higher education later on.
You can get in touch with Bright Child Foundation: brightchildfoundation[at]gmail.com