India Today - - COVER STORY -

It all started in a small back­yard of a govern­ment house in Sec­tor-7 in Chandigarh when Dr Anu­radha Sharma, 52, and Sarita Te­wari, 52, de­cided to do their bit for the ed­u­ca­tion of the un­der­priv­i­leged. Hamari Kak­sha, one of the best known NGOs in the re­gion, was born. Now, it has five cen­tres spread across Chandigarh and Panchkula, where more than 700 stu­dents ben­e­fit from var­i­ous pro­grammes. Sharma, who teaches Chem­istry in a col­lege, calls her­self a “born ed­u­ca­tion­al­ist” and says that even as a child, she was stunned by the huge dis­par­ity be­tween those who could af­ford ed­u­ca­tion and those who couldn’t. She stresses that for decades, her life’s mis­sion has been to up­lift the stan­dard of ed­u­ca­tion among the un­der­priv­i­leged. “I have re­alised that what’s re­ally miss­ing is the fact that no one is will­ing to guide and in­still con­fi­dence in un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren.,” she says. Sharma tar­gets non-per­form­ing school go­ers, those who have never been to school and also drop-outs back to the fold of for­mal ed­u­ca­tion. The NGO has vol­un­teers from dif­fer­ent back­grounds—from wives of bu­reau­crats, stu­dents who have passed out of Hamari Kak­sha pro­grammes, in­mates of old age homes to stu­dents study­ing in dif­fer­ent ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes, all are com­ing for­ward. “We are glad that the com­mu­nity is par­tic­i­pat­ing,” con­cludes Sharma.

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