In 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. gave his powerful speech – “I have a dream”. The speech inspired millions. Here at Sankalp, we are living a dream of our own. A dream that is slowly turning into reality. Matter of fact, we don’t know to sit and rest. Every single day, selfless volunteers leave the comfort of their rooms, go out there and get scorched in the sun to bring a smile on a child’s face. To quote Gandhi – “In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”
What is Sankalp all about and why is it so close to my heart? I am often surprised at the bond I have come to share with this organization. Let me start by throwing some light on the origins of Sankalp.
It was sometime in 2007 that one of our seniors, Shivendra Sir floated the idea of teaching poor kids from underprivileged sections free of cost. The initiative took shape and by 2010, it became a full fledged organization with around 100 students, 20 volunteers. All these kids some of the poorest strata of our society and get free of cost education at our centers. 2010 was also the year I entered college. I got to know about this organization being run by our seniors and immediately enrolled to teach kids.
In my freshman year, I taught with full energy. But, I also saw the need of overhauling many things at Sankalp. We were still lacking many fundamental systems that were immediately needed. Together with some of my most capable batch mates and tireless support of seniors we went on to bring about change at every level. Teams for every activity – academic, finance, special classes, event management, public relations, admissions were formed; the first well-defined syllabus; meeting parents on regular basis; creating hierarchy of responsibilities, updating the website; mass contact with alumni and sponsors; maintaining records; finance and academic reports; sponsorship of kids; activity reports; promotion on social media; celebration of festivals at centers; connecting volunteers across all levels – all expanded rapidly. Our seniors gave us a base by starting a wonderful initiative and we made full use of it. Out of college, I am still very intimately connected with the organization and the current set of juniors, who are working day and night to fulfill dreams.
What inspires me the most to be connected with Sankalp is this quote by Maxine Hong Kingston – “In a time of destruction, create something: a poem, a parade, a community, a school, a vow, a moral principle; one peaceful movement.”
We have been expanding fast, very fast. After months of intensive planning and ground work, Sankalp – A Pledge To Change inaugurated its 8th National Centre in Thakur Badi Block, Kendua, Dhanbad district. Far from the glare of the world, in the coal fields of Dhanbad, our quest for diamonds began. As of now, we are reaching out to 650 kids, providing them free of cost education. We are spread across three states of Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. We hope to open many more such centres of free learning for kids from poor section of society.
During one of the interaction sessions, Shivendra sir said:
“Thou shall not be a perpetrator, thou shall not be a victim, and thou shall never, but never, be a bystander.” This was the time when the team did a campaign in Bantanagar and Rickshaw Basti, Adityapur to identify underprivileged children for admission to Navodaya and Netarhat.
There are very, very few things that bring tears to my eyes. On one of these days, it was because of Sankalp. From where we started to where we have come, the journey is indeed a story worth telling. I cannot emphasize enough the role played by volunteers across all batches and at all levels in bringing the efforts to fruition when we successfully concluded SANSKRITI ’15 – the first cultural event at Sankalp – A Pledge To Change.
I am constantly in touch with volunteers across all levels. Encouraging them, motivating them and appreciating their efforts. Over the last few days, I have taken time to connect with volunteers across 2011, 2012, 2013 batch of graduates – to talk about non – Sankalp related stuff. It is wonderful how we have come to bond together as a family, to know each other so well even after my graduation, to care for each other, to inspire each other, to push forward each other.
As far as Sankalp itself is concerned, I take pride in saying that we proved ourselves to be different. Day by day, we are making new strides. Coverage by The Better India, YourStory and Zee News are fitting examples of how far we have come.
The journey itself is turning out to be the reward, in terms of lives touched, relations build, trust gained, and blessings received.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for me to match the enthusiasm levels of my juniors. They are power packed 24 hours. And of course, Shivendra Sir is one mighty warrior in himself. I love these people.
This one blog post for all those faceless heroes who made Sankalp a symbol of peace and hope. Amidst the chaos of the college environment, we managed to create and sustain something that is creating a positive ripple effect.
New initiatives are being taken every day. These days a lot of effort is being put to revise our syllabus – it will have lessons of regular classes, practical learning, moral lessons, respect for opposite sex, knowing your rights and duties and computer classes. The Sankalp movement has brought in its fold other initiatives such as promoting literacy classes and workshops for the other weaker section of our society – several of our centers have sewing classes for women from poor sections.
Every day, we get calls from several people who are keen to sponsor children or are willing to open a Sankalp centre around their homes or college. We are very enthusiastic about the future that lays ahead.
We Learn. We Grow. We Fall. We Rise.
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