Published: 31st July 2020
How the Aahwahan Foundation has been changing kids' lives using the power of education for a decade now
Though it is based out of Bengaluru, Aahwahan Foundation operates pan-India. Their aim is to create sustainable models with the help of education to have long-term impact and to do their bit for India
Education can open doors to dreams, fortune, fame or can even get you all three at once. Yet, there remain places in our country where it still remains inaccessible to some. To help bridge the divide in their own small way, Aahwahan Foundation started its operations in 2009 and today, their various initiatives speak for themselves. And even during the ongoing pandemic, they are doing their best to ensure that some sort of continuity remains.
Education is now on the move
This Bengaluru-based foundation works across India and they have adopted a number of schools, namely, 46 in Karnataka, seven in Bhubaneswar, eight in Delhi, four in Noida and so on. They play a huge role in developing these schools, whether it's in terms of infrastructure, building toilets, installing water filters, setting up computer labs, launching digital classrooms or anything else in between. Our favourite and their most successful initiative has been Education on Wheels. It is for all those dropouts kids and girls who haven't been allowed to pursue further education. "The van travels to rural areas of villages and offers technical education, specifically speaking, computer educational training. And after completing the course they get a certificate from the corporate training company NIIT themselves," explains the Founder, Braja Kishore Pradha. Armed with this certificate, they are able to get jobs and it helps them earn Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000 a month. This is run by the 3,807 volunteers they have all over India.
The van (Pic: Aahwahan Foundation)
How Education on Wheels works is, first, they find the village president and understand how many students are in need of this kind of initiative. The volunteers also meet the family and if need be, they even set up temporary computer labs in government schools for three to six months to train youngsters of the village and neighbouring villages as well. As many as 268 students have enrolled and made the most of this initiative, wherein, three vans have circulated villages in Karnataka like Mallapura, Kamaluru, Koneripura and more. "Even the parents are very happy, especially with the girls because they are bringing in income," says Pradha who came to Bengaluru in the year 2010.
Then the foundation has a Health on Wheels programme where doctors visit schools monthly and talk about menstruation, sex education, good touch and bad touch. "We have about 3,000 doctors signed up with us, including from Victoria Medical College, Bengaluru, who travel with us," says the founder. In another initiative, they also identify meritorious students in the field of sports and sponsor their training. "One of our students is ranked number three in the world in the Under-12 category in tennis," he says.
Before Corona (Pic: Aahwahan Foundation)
Reaching out virtually
During these testing times, all of Aahwahan Foundation's initiatives have come to a screeching halt, needless to say. So for now, they are helping teachers understand and deliver live classes. From the 6,000 students that are in the 46 schools that they work with, they are able to extend online learning facilities to about 1,800 students. For the rest, they are approaching corporates for sponsorship.
Planted 1.3 million saplings in Karnataka since their inception, initiated vertical gardening under metro stations and with corporates and restoring three lakes, indeed the foundation has done a lot in the last decade. They want to continue putting in their efforts to try and make the world a better place.
For more on them, check out aahwahan.com