What do we do?
Shantidevi Charitable Trust (SDCT) provides supplementary education to over 7500 children in 9 Slums in New Delhi. We also run Infant Day-Care Centers and Vocational Classes for Ladies. We have a small presence outside of Amritsar, in Gumtala, where we provide after-school tuitions to almost 425 children.
Why do we do it?
Shantidevi’s Principal Trustees, Anuradha and Tarun Bakshi, always felt the need to help people who were at a great disadvantage in life. For many years before the Trust’s founding, they donated money and volunteered their time to various organizations, particularly the ‘homes’ run by Mother Teresa. It was their experience at these homes, where they saw the Sisters so whole-heartedly dedicated to the caring of the most unfortunate people in society – lepers, AIDS victims, orphans, etc. – that drove them to undertake their own full-time project. So, in 1998 was born Shantidevi.
At our inception, when entering Kusumpur Pahari, Vasant Vihar, which given its concentrated poverty seemed the ideal place to direct our efforts various programs were initiated.
This program continues even today. As these activities went along, it was noticed that lots of children would just gather around us and not have much to do for most of the day, and this soon became a daily occurrence with an ever-increasing population. We felt that engaging the minds of these children in a meaningful way was vital if conditions in this slum, with its concentration of hardship, were to improve.
So we hired a teacher, and under a tree right next to the Women’s centre, started giving lessons to these children in basic English and Math.
Right under that tree, with those handfuls of children, was born our Education Program, which is now our overwhelming focus.
Soon we also covered various slums in Rangpuri Vasant Kunj.
After school remedial classes are conducted throughout the day for children. These classes bridge the gap between school and home
We also conduct classes for adults who wish to appear for board exams through Open University.
Students who pass out from class 12th are encouraged to pursue further studies. They are helped financially. A scholarship program has been initiated on a regular basis.
Sewing classes are conducted on a regular basis. Many of the girls who have finished the course with us have started earning their livelihood. We have also started beauty courses for the ladies and young girls of the community. One batch has successfully completed the course and now are freelancing as beauticians in their locality.
Many of our students have been sent for training in collaboration with Unnati. Quite a few of our students who have completed this training have been placed in jobs.