Anand Vidyalaya and Women Empowerment - Gurgaon
Anand Vidyalaya

I have been with Anand Vidyalaya since its inception and have been fortunate enough to experience the transformation in the children from the day when they come to the day when they are able to go to a private English medium school and stand shoulder to shoulder with other children who come from much more privileged families. There is no hesitation, no complexes just brimming with confidence and smiling away. In fact the words of the principal of the school, to which we took our students for admission for further schooling, still echo in my ears whenever I enter Anand Vidyalaya or am introducing the children to new volunteers or visitors. After taking their interview he had said, "Aap logone inhain kis tarhain padaya hai? Yeh to bahut buland hain!" And that was our reward and learning at the same time. Since we started the school because charity and service is the core of our yogic practices we had not focussed on any target that we had to achieve. Everyday we just went to school played and chatted with children and taught them too. Except for the timetable everything else was informal and still is. We learnt that just by making a commitment and simply by wanting to make a difference we had made a major difference to some lives. We had ignited the spark for learn in the children who roamed the streets doing nothing. Because it was the children themselves who one day said that they wanted to study more. "Why can't our school become a big school," they had said.

And I'm sure one day it will. 

Women Empowerment
Empower a women and you empower the whole society/country. Literacy has its place but for those with lesser means, skill to supplement the household income is a godsend. Nothing can compare with woman's pride in being able to support her household financially or even be able to make that new dress for her child. On their first meeting, these women appear shy with downcast eyes, nudging each other to speak up. But a few months into the training sessions you hear them chitchatting and giggling unabashedly. Teacherji!, madamji! they call your attention and expect you to solve all their problems (never mind even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand). It is gratifying but it is also a reminder of our responsibilities. Since we are better informed and better equipped it becomes our duty to guide them gently and enable them to become independent, skilled and resourceful. So that not only they are able to experience, progress but are also able to encourage others to get empowered by their own example. 

Seema initiated both Ananda Vidyalaya and the Women Empowerment programmes in Delhi. An ardent believer in Yogi Ashwini ji’s teachings, it is her selfless desire to serve the community and make society a better place to live in.