My name is Er. Vijay Kumar Patidar. I graduated from Institute of Engineering and Technology, DAVV in Civil Engineering. Currently, I am pursuing a PhD in Geotechnical Engineering from Maulana Azad National Institute of Technology, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
I am also successfully running our volunteering organisation Dishanjali Education And Welfare Society at Bhopal, Indore and Vidisha. As every great work begins with a small idea, my story too begins with a small thought.
One evening, I was sitting with my friends at a chai ki gumti. We noticed kids over there who didn’t seem to be in the best condition. They were actually children from the nearest slum. I tried to interact with them and asked what they wanted to do in life. Two of them said that they wanted to study and other one wanted new clothes. But looking at their condition, it didn’t seem like they could get any of these things. And this left me thinking about the circumstances and helplessness of poor people.
Days passed as I kept thinking. I really had an urge to do something about the matter. I decided that I could teach. I had nothing except passion. And that’s all you need to move mountains. Without further delay, I started teaching at the back of the university. In a few days, everyone in the university had heard of me teaching those children. Some were mocking me by saying, “What can he do alone?” Amidst this, I got incredible support from my senior, Mr Rajiv Baghel, who was pursuing M.Tech. He actually encouraged me to make a team and spread my work. At that time, a group called Rang-De-Zindagi (now an NGO) used to do the same work of teaching children. They had started in 2012.
I got an idea from there and I made up my own team with my juniors named ‘Jai-Hind’ in 2013. We started teaching in more schools. We made an additional step, of arranging parents-teachers meetings, which never used to happen in government or otherwise small schools. Our work moved ahead. I was aware of the condition of society in the field of education, especially in slum areas. There was no proper learning for children in these areas. As our country has a huge youth population, I thought why not motivate the youth to join the initiative which will help society grow?
After completing engineering, I moved to Bhopal to work more with ‘Jai-Hind’. I established ‘Jai-Hind’ in Bhopal too. In 2015, we got ‘Jai-Hind’ registered as an NGO and renamed it ‘Dishanjali’. As the work of Dishanjali moved forward, I again had an idea. It was to associate different groups who were working for society in their own way.
This was something different, with necessarily no satisfactory outcomes. But as the idea was to develop a self-sustaining system, it would be like a dream come true for many youngsters. So I thought of giving it a shot. And we named this cross volunteering association ‘National Association of Young Active Volunteer (NAYAV)’. With ‘NAYAV’, we then organised an event “Ham Honge Kaamyaab” for children. That event was a success as we got to know about the interests of children. For those children who were having some particular interest – such as dancing, cooking, writing, etc. – we decided to let them pursue their interest free of cost. With this fellowship programme, we had the ability to produce jobs for different kinds of interests.
Fortunately, our work got noticed. This led to our selection in a list of top 25 social entrepreneurship all over India by “Teach for India”. We’ll be a part of the TFIx Incubation Program for one year in which they will focus on making us learn about fundraising, maintaining records for showing our work to governments, etc. This is the biggest achievement for us in 2018.
Today, we have more than 150 members in Bhopal and Indore. The short-term goal of ‘Dishanjali is to make at least 10 people join who want to earn from their hobbies. With that goal, our mission now is to provide a platform for students according to their field of interest. Today, Dishanjali has reached out to about 5,000 children. Our centres are increasing day by day. In the coming years, we hope to reach to every village and every remote slum area in the country to encourage education among children.