This Woman Used Her Own Earnings To Educate And Empower Impoverished People In Shillong

Moved by the plight of underprivileged people, Shima Modak drew funds from her own earnings to start her NGO, SPARK, which helps educate and enable marginalised groups to lead lives of dignity.

In 2010, Shima started an educational centre (a small school set-up) in community spaces to take education to the doorstep of those kids who cannot make it to school. Today, there are five such centres staffed with 16 teachers across Shillong, who are paid ₹2,000 monthly, catering to nearly 450 students – mostly cowherds, ragpickers and domestic workers who have to work to support their family. These centres are run with the minimum basic facilities through donations.

Basic education (nursery to class 10) is provided free to children who could never have dreamt of going to school. Those who have completed their schooling are then linked to a formal school. Students from these centres have been participating in and winning state and national-level sports tournaments. A key achievement has been the participation of a group of students (who’ve been trained in animation and film-making) in the Chicago Film Festival 2015. Starting with 73 underprivileged children, the centres run by SPARK have, till date, been able to cover more than 3,000 such children.

Recognising the importance of educating women for the development of society, Shima’s NGO organises evening classes for women in Anjali, Shillong. Awareness and sensitisation programmes and health camps for women are some of the other praiseworthy initiatives undertaken by Shima and her team.

Shima continues to soldier on, using her own resources and the wholehearted support of the community to improve the lives of lesser privileged people.


If you know undaunted spirits like Shima, nominate them for the Women Transforming India Awards 2018. Click the link here. Deadline for entries: June 30, 2018.


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