Anand Vidyalaya
Anand Vidyalaya, Gurgaon

The inception of the thought called AnandVidyalaya germinated in Gurgaon. It all took shape when some of our volunteers started distributing food to street children. In anticipation of more food, these children would often visit the volunteers' houses at unearthly hours. We understood that apart from hunger, a lot of free time was the reason behind their behaviour. These children were whiling away their time in meaningless activities as they did not attend school and most of the time; they were alone at home while their parents slogged as daily wage earners. Some were school drop-outs; many others had never seen the inside of a school.

To give these children a direction and something constructive to spend their time with, the first AV sprung up on a vacant plot of land in Gurgaon with just a blackboard, handful of chalk sticks,15 children, and our volunteers armed with loads of dedication.

Before setting out to teach them the pre-defined syllabus they were given a host of classes and guidance through personal hygiene and behaviour. Given their background it was initially a challenge for the volunteers to even get them to sit quietly. In the initial days, children would come for the meal offered at the end of the class. But now, the learning is what draws them to the school and the meal is merely incidental.

Often due to inadequate infrastructure, rains would disrupt the classes and it was heartening to see these children waiting endlessly for it to stop so they attend classes. Seeing these childrens’ dedication as one of the volunteers offered his basement to run the school. Though the new place was a little far away, these students were enthusiastic about walking to the new premise tagging along their friends and siblings.

Soon the word of this unique concept of AnandVidyalaya spread far and wide. A garment factory owner willingly donated school uniforms to all students while some others gave toys, games, stationery and other items. The children were invited to a farm to spend the entire day. Employees of major corporates like Wipro regularly spend their time teaching and also contribute their might to make a difference.