18 hours ago
"growing up in a middle class family meant that i didn’t even dare to have big dreams–i wanted to be a doctor but never told anyone because i knew it was an expensive dream. instead, i chose commerce, took part time jobs and got married right out of college.
after my daughters were born, i continued working, even started a few small ventures and completed my mba. i was so used to working, no matter what. the first real time i had to slow down and take a breath was when i met with a life threatening accident. i had to stay home for a month.
it was then that my house help told me that she couldn’t afford her daughter’s education anymore and wanted her to start working. when i spoke to the girl, she said she wanted to continue her studies and become an artist but didn’t know how to.
my mind went back to the time when i had willingly put my dreams on hold because my family couldn’t afford it. i’d made up for it by giving my daughters every opportunity. i realised i could’ve done much more for people with a lot less.
it started with my house help’s daughter but grew into ‘shyamchi aai foundation’. i wanted to help every child find what they loved and more than that, find a way to pursue it. we hired experts, developed aptitude tests and decided to go through the government system to reach all the government run schools.
i’m proud to say that now my help’s daughter is running her own design business, employs people and earns 40k per month! in the last 2 years, over 32 lakh students have received career guidance through our project.
even my laundry man asked me to counsel his son–he had invested all his hard-earned money into the son’s engineering degree, but he was still unemployed. we reached out to him and now he’s using his degree to expand his father’s business and has even started 2 fully automated laundries!
we hope to reach every school in india through our foundation. i don’t just want a child to have the ‘right to education’, i want them to have the ‘right to right education’."