“There are so many areas where there’s a dire need of some sincere work. Once you decide to help those in need, you find hundreds of worthy people who need your help. I think the decision is crucial; after you take the first step, everything falls into place somehow,” says Deepak Labde, trustee of NGO Aarambh, based in Malad, Mumbai.
Aarambh was started by a group of working professionals with the aim of helping rural children study.
In 2010, 11 young individuals, all residents of the same cooperative housing society in Malad, came together with the wish to do some good.
One of the member’s relatives was the headmaster of a ZillaParishad school in a small village called Talekhal in Saphale in Palghar district and had mentioned the dire state of education in the school. Upon visiting the school once, the team came to the conclusion that this government school was the right place to start their work.
“We started visiting the school every fortnight. We tried to understand the problems faced by the kids. Most of these children come from an underprivileged background and therefore, cannot afford even the basic of stationery material, uniforms and books. So we decided to sponsor stationery, books and uniforms for them,” says Deepak.
Aarambh has been supporting the students of the school in Talekhal for over five years now and has also taken on the responsibility of providing supplementary learning material to students of nine other schools in the cluster.
During their recent visits to Saphale, they noticed that the infrastructural problems in the school had become serious and needed to be addressed immediately.
“The school’s roof, walls and toilets are not in a good condition and need to be repaired. The roof has been leaking since the past two years and because of that, the walls have become weak. If no action is taken before monsoon, the walls might collapse. The school was supposed to get a grant to fix its leaky roof, but the money got diverted to some other school,” informs Deepak.
Aarambh has decided to renovate and repair the school building and has taken the route of crowdfunding to raise money for the repair work of the school.
One of the future projects that the NGO wants to take up in Saphale is helping local women set up organic farming enterprises. Considering that many children start working early due to the family’s financial condition, the NGO is now aiming at empowering their parents so the children could learn without worrying about money.
“We recently provided support to a group of women in the village by digging a tube well. These women are working towards cultivating exotic flowers and plants in a green house. Because of summer, there was no water for the plants so we took initiative and got the tube well dug. Now we are looking forward to contributing to the repair work of the school, which will ensure learning without any obstacles for the kids,” says Deepak.