Anant Bagrodia, a Class 12 student at the Vasant Valley School in Delhi has launched a mobile app called ‘Volunteers for MCD Schools’.
“It all started as a passion project,” he explains.
The 16-year-old would often watch his mother dedicate hours teaching underprivileged children in MCD (Municipal Corporation of Delhi) schools.
One day in January, she happened to tell Anant about a student, Prince, whom she had encountered. The boy was bright, she said, but could do better with some tutoring.
Anant took up the challenge and decided to dedicate two hours every week to teaching Prince English grammar over a video call.
Anant’s friends — who had observed how this experience had changed him — wanted to help too. However, there was no system in place.
In 2020, as the pandemic hit, Anant stumbled upon research that showed only 8.1 percent of children in government schools attended online classes.
This, he points out, led to a significant educational gap that only worsened as the pandemic wore on.
So, Anant reached out to his friends, put together a group, and began ideating on a possible solution that could end or reduce the disparity.
The students decided to partner with the MCD school children of Delhi, as these schools lacked the digital infrastructure to conduct online classes during the pandemic.
After spending May to July 2022 negotiating his plans with the school authorities, he got started with building the app.
Today, there are 19 MCD schools across Delhi — including areas like Kailash Colony, Vasant Vihar, Hauz Khas, Defence Colony, and Lajpat Nagar — which are being helped.
The app is available to download on the Google Play store and has over 100 student volunteers — who have registered to dedicate their time and skills to helping these children.
“Once student volunteers register on the app, the principal of the concerned MCD school will reach out to them explaining the needs of the students who need special attention,” says Anant.
The volunteers help the students with academics as well as chess workshops, music lessons, life skill training, sports, etc.
Anant recently also raised funds from friends and family and donated 30 tablets to three of the MCD schools, enabling smarter integration of technology into the curriculum.
Through the outreach created by the app, they have managed to help over 600 students, he notes.