most of us usually feel that there is not much change in society that we as individuals can bring about. we blame the system/government/bureaucracy/lack of infrastructure/lack of time for our 'inability' to make any significant, meaningful contribution.
but its amazing how one man with vision and inspiration can make a big difference and a significant contribution to society!
today i happened to read the brochure of the 'parivaar education society' and was not just thoroughly impressed but also deeply touched and humbled.
i was introduced to parivaar through my wife who's an iim-kolkata product (read on to know why this bit of info is relevant). she is a regular contributor and used to keep trying to share details of parivaar with me. i only had a vague idea about what it did. it was only after reading the literature today that i realised the scale of the work being done. i would like to share some of the details of this institution with you and would sincerely implore you to check it out for yourself at www.parivaar.org. (most of the info that follows is reproduced from the brochure.)
parivaar was started by an iit-kharagpur and iim-kolkata alumnus, vinayak lohani (1991-93 batch) who was inspired by the teachings and ideals of sri ramakrishna paramahamsa and swami vivekananda. he did not take up final placement on campus and instead decided to dedicate his life to the upliftment of homeless children. parivaar's motto is to provide 'home, family and future for homeless, family-less children'.
starting in january 2004 with just 3 children in a small rented building with almost no financial resources, there are currently 204 children at the parivaar ashram at bakhrahat (quite close to the iim-c jokha campus). a facility is now under construction to accommodate almost 500 children!
the children admitted into parivaar ashram are destitute/homeless/family-less and are from categories like orphans, street/pavement dwelling children, children of critically/terminally ill mothers (with no father or other family support), abandoned children, children from rural areas and also from red-light areas. the children are admitted at a very young age (3-8 years) and they come with no educational background. they are then trained in the ashram to get them admission into a quality formal education school.
since parivaar works for total rehabilitation of the children, it provides everything a child needs including food, clothing, education, recreation, etc. parivaar focuses on the all-round development of the child, including physical, emotional, intellectual as well as spiritual growth. parivaar works with the idea of providing support to each child with a minimum commitment of 12 to 15 years, right from their kindergarten stage till he/she grows up and makes good in life.
parivaar has been fortunate to have many contributors (over 350 iim alumni itself). (you can contribute through their website where details are provided.)
vinayak could have become a successful professional like most of us. but he chose to do something far nobler, and something much bigger in life. and according to me he has achieved far greater success in life. how many of us can claim to have positively contributed and changed the life of another human being?
what i also appreciate about his model for the organisation that he has founded is that he has very clearly established the spiritual principles that seem to be inspiring and driving the ethos of parivaar. he very openly acknowledges the spiritual support that he receives from the ramakrishna mission. as part of their spiritual development, the children are exposed to pranayam, dhyana and a 'sanskar siksha upadesh' session which includes imparting teachings on moral and spiritual lines. they have a prayer hall with images of sri ramakrishna, mother sarada devi, and swami vivekananda. they celebrate the anniversaries of these saints.
but vinayak has clearly established parivaar as a non-spiritual organisation with no formal, direct involvement of any of the above-mentioned spiritual organisations.
and thus he has managed to achieve a wonderful balance between the secular and the spiritual and managed to beautify the lives of so many deserving children.
i only wish there are many more such vinayaks who get inspired and create many more such parivaars across our country. and that could bring about a revolution - an educational, spiritual and nation-building revolution!