Vasundhara, who started a school for underprivileged children in Jubilee Hills, has proved through her work that actions speak louder than words
In a place like Jubilee Hills, which is studded with international schools with plush facilities, resides another school which is indeed special and different. Nachiketa Tapovana School is a school for underprivileged children and is on par with the other schools in terms of facilities and faculty.
For principal Vasundhara, the phrase ‘To change the system, one should be a part of the system’ is something she truly believes. She is of the opinion that instead of complaining, one should get out of their comfort zone and do something concrete. This passion to make a difference has helped create a beautiful path for over 100 underprivileged children.
A few years ago, Vasundhara came across the stone-cutting labourer community at Varada basti. She noticed that when the parents were working, the children were left on the roads all day long. As they were not living in good conditions, she decided to conduct a retreat camp for them twice a week. Overwhelmed by the response, she built a hut and started teaching children.
“I extended my hand first and realised that thousands of people are waiting for me and my service. When I started the school, I did not expect so many children would come. Seeing the positive response within six months, I constructed this school and today, we have 120 students studying here,”
she says. All the students at Nachiketa Tapovana are from BPL families, and all the teachers here are volunteers.
Painting, drawing, banking, art and craft, candle making, science fairs; all these activities are conducted here on a regular basis. Each student here has a bank account. A fund-raising programme is also conducted and the money collected is deposited in the students’ accounts. Often, even the
parents deposit their earnings in this account.
“Sometimes I see a few children who are not interested in studying, but I insist they stay here. At least they are not on the roads. The conditions in which these children are brought up are not very positive. Some parents beat the children, while some come home drunk. Hence, educating them and inculcating good values is extremely important,” Vasundhara says.
Vasundhara, who is fondly called amma or akka by the children as well as the staff, believes the education system needs to be changed. “Our education system is in a bad shape. These days, schools don’t give importance to our values and ethics. In fact, moral science, which is a very important subject, is removed from our curriculum. Students should study for knowledge and not for marks,” she firmly believes.
The mediator and yoga practitioner not only educates children but also their parents. She organises health camps, de-addiction and awareness camps for parents in the school. Inspired by her success in Hyderabad, she has also opened another school in Mahmood Nagar, primarily for Lambani tribe children.
From her experience, she says that it’s not difficult to educate first-generation children. In fact, she has a strong faith in the government school system, but wishes that the accountability is better.
“If we can do it, I am sure other government schools can to do it too. They have the best of the best teachers who are highly qualified. They also have good infrastructure. But no accountability, hence everything is laid back. If this is fixed, then the problem of dropouts from school can be fixed,” she says. When asked how she balances home and work, she said, “There is no difference. This is home too.”
She signs off saying, “We don’t know what life has in store for us, hence we should wake up and do something for society right now.”
First Job: My block printing business
Last book: Spiritualty book on Sri Ram Krishna
Last movie: 3 Idiots
Biggest influence: Swami Nachiketanjali
Your mantra: Don’t spend all your life planning, rather act. Practice what you think is correct
About the Author (Author Profile)
A dreamer, over enthusiastic with life and most often busy doing nothing..happy being busy and busy being happy….passionate about shopping, eating and a journalist occasionally.