Change Makers

Nirmal Jyot - Mulund, Mumbai 12 May 2020

Primary Education
Women lighting the lamp for education

Women are the true architects of society. Ms. Usha Prabhakar, founder of the charitable trust Nirmal Jyot, her friend and co-founder Ms. Lakshmi Subramanian, and a band of dedicated women volunteers show us that if women decide to come together for a cause nothing is impossible. This charitable society comprising of all women volunteers from all walks of life have taken on the humongous task of educating underprivileged children and youth.

In 2010, walking her golden retriever Marco every evening to an under-construction site, Ms. Usha Prabhakar gathered around her a few children of construction workers playing around. Her loving presence opened up the children to try new possibilities of learning. Hearing of Usha's experience, her enthusiastic close friends joined in. Come 4 o'clock every evening, and one could see this motley group of loving elderly women flanked by little eager faces pouring over used text books and trying their best to perfect the three 'R's. As the classes progressed under the blue sky, the builder took notice of this crowd. Using left-over construction material, he built a small single room shelter that now became the meeting point for the classes. The numbers of children soon started swelling, as did the number of volunteers from the neighbouring areas. Majorly supported by elderly women, now retired and who once had flourishing careers, all found a new purpose in mentoring these eager little souls.

As the support classes progressed, the school started operating in the morning as well. The founders started getting the children admission in local schools and supporting them simultaneously with tuitions in the morning and evening. They realised, hygiene and nutrition must also be a focus area. As volunteers joined hands people started sponsoring bananas, milk and dates for the children. The volunteers started funding all kinds of essential educational support for these children. From Dec 2017, Beautiful Minds, a group formed of individual good samaritans, started sponsoring and serving freshly cooked parathas for the children.

Nirmal Jyot

As the volunteer-children synergy grew, the volunteers brought in the best. They introduced the children to new learning opportunities and many interesting concepts to bring the children at par with the other children residing in neighbouring high rises. From hobby classes, to soft skills, to personal counseling, to getting various speaker interactions to short picnics across all great landmarks around the city; all volunteers built a net of active engagement, encouraging supervision and loving protection around this children.

By 2017, the initiative registered itself as a charitable trust. The trusties are Ms. Parul Vora (chair-person), Ms.Sunita Ravi, Ms.Sangeeta Sindhkar, Ms.Meena Kanyalkar and Ms Lakshmi Subramanian.

By 2020, seven batches of children had already cleared high school, many deserving children are still receiving sustained sponsorship for higher education. Some children post their 10th, were helped with vocational trainings and supported to find suitable means of livelihood.

For the greater years, Ms. Lakshmi Subramanian has been an indomitable anchor for Nirmal Jyot. The volunteers have built on her strength and seamlessly supported her selflessly with their time and service. The belief remains strong that education doesn't stop at academics, but includes behavioural skills.

Nirmal Jyot operates from a room within the premises of the now-closed-down Nirmal Lifestyle Mall.

This has given these kids a new meaning to life. #Charity #CommunityService #GivingIsCaring #MyCirclOoGgoodness #GivingCircleindia

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