HOW THE STORY BEGAN.....
When a single bedroom kitchen flat was converted into a school to
teach about 10 students in 1976, the residents of the slum in Yashodhan
Nagar were all giggles. The narrow paths that lead to this premise posed
a challenging traverse for Mr. P. M. Yadav,
the present Chairman of the Yashodhan Education Trust, in
reaching education to the economically weak strata of the society that
resides in the slums.
In 1978, seven trustees contributed Rs. 100 each to start the Yashodhan Education Trust’s English High School, and Late Shri. S. G. Prabhu gave his one room kitchen flat to start the school at a token rent of Rs. 1 per month. The dream project of Mr. Rajgopalan Iyer became a reality through efforts of Mr. P. M. Yadav. When the strength of the students grew to unmanageable numbers, the school had to be shifted to the nearby premises at Shashtri Nagar in 1990. Today this school is a full fledged educational institute with much larger space, and conducts classes up to tenth standard under the Maharashtra Board.
“Although the teachers are not highly paid, their enthusiasm is
never lowed. They are aware of the constraints in this school,” says principal of the Yashodhan Education Trust’s
English School. “The teachers are happy as they are aware that their
efforts are a great contribution to the society. By imparting knowledge
to the weaker section of the society, they are making a great
contribution to the nation, and that is the need of the hour.”
Situated among the picturesque, green, foothills of Yeoor, the school is a boon for the lower middle class families who send their children here for English medium education. It may seem very simple, but its quite a challenging task for the teachers who are really devoted to the noble profession of teaching.
It is not easy to run a school among the hutments due to number of problems in the infrastructure. There is no proper approach to the school. The vehicles that bring the students from far away places are not able to reach the students to the school gate due to narrow lane and electric poles in between. As the school has not received finance from any source, it is finding difficult to make further extension. The adjoining open space belonging to the army is lying unused. If a part of the land is given to the school, it can act as a nice playground and venue for outdoor activities. There is no space for growth, hence the only option is to build a second story on the existing ground floor structure to hold more classrooms.
Currently, the school holds classes up to tenth standard. In the year 2004, it received permission from the government to start a Junior College of Arts and Commerce. There are plans to start the same in the year 2005. As there is limited space and furniture, the additional classes will be accommodated in second shift. A permanent structure with better facilities can be made if funds are available. But this has not happened.
Mr. P. M. Yadav
Having 385 students in English medium, and 186 students in Marathi medium, the school is proud of getting 100% results every year. The fee structure is kept to its minimum by charging Rs. 150 for K.G., Rs. 210 for standards 1 to 7, and Rs. 275 for standards 8 to 10. But still, many families are not able to pay this amount and the school runs in arrears of about Rs one lakh due to non-payment of fees. The school has been very considerate, and allows such students to continue their studies with an expectation that some day they would pay their fees when their economic condition gets better. The school does not want any student to be deprived of education just because he/she is unable to pay the fee. The students also feel indebted to the school and it has been noticed that few ex-students often visit here to teach for free. The present staff consists of 15 teachers, 2 office staff and 4 peons.
Medical check-ups and
health camps are held regularly. Annual day is celebrated in three
instalments due to space constraint. The school encourages the bright
students by distributing prizes.
The school even boasts of a science laboratory. A separate room has been devoted for the laboratory where the senior students learn practicals. Small open space acts as a playground. There is provision for clean drinking water and neat and clean toilets. There are twelve class rooms, and all have fans and tube lights.
The first look at the school structure may look deceptive
from outside with asbestos / tin roof, but once you are inside the
school, you get the feel of the environment of an educational institute.
The students are very intelligent, courteous, well mannered, and dream
to make it big one day. They do not live superficial lives, they dream
the reality as they live their life in the reality. They have made
themselves so tough at this stage that by the time they finish their
education, and get ready for a job, they will do wonders and bring pride
to their families. Well, some credit goes to the Yashodhan Education
Trust too. The gleam and the sparkle is still there in the tired eyes of
the principle when she states, “I have a dream that one day our
students will also come in the merit list of the Maharashtra Board. My
teachers are doing the best social work. It will pay them in the long
run. The students are also doing their part well. It is praiseworthy
that under such discouraging situations, the students never lose hope,
and they maintain their willingness to learn and grow in a disciplined
Mrs. Rathi Ravikrishnan, the present Principal, and the teachers carry
on their duties with great devotion. Unlike rich public schools they do
not follow the borrowed western culture that creates confused minds and
“hinglish” personalities under the guise of modernity. This humble
school operates under the harsh realities transforming the young minds
into traditional strong
Indian intellectuals who have clear vision and an aim to achieve
something in life. But alas! No one funds such institutions.
Mr. P. M. Yadav is the present Chairman of the Yashodhan Education
Trust. He has been associated with the Yashodhan Education trust since
its inception in 1978.
“The purpose of setting
up an English medium school is to make good education within the reach
of the lower middle class families who reside in Yashodhan Nagar as
there is no other good English school in the neighbourhood,” says Mr.
Yadav. “There is no support from anywhere for
this school, and we are proud of running the school truely based on
income through fee collection.”
Mr. P. M. Yadav and his team of trustees consisting of Mr. R. A. Kovale (Treasurer), Mr. D. P. Khatu (Secretary), Mr. Rajgopalan, Mr. Raut, Advocate P. V. Patil, Mr. K. M. Yadav and Mr. A. J. Raut are solemnly serving the nation by their shear dedication to a mission of making formal education available to poor and underprivileged children.