THE GURUKUL STORY
Gurukul is a non-profit endeavor founded by Pooja Mishra, an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, who aspires to make quality education a reality for all. Pooja was born in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh in a modest family. The only reason her father had moved to the city was to provide good education to his girls. This always made her ponder that no family should move away from its roots just to get good school education. Not every family can afford to do what her father did!
After her graduation, she worked in the US for 6 years but there was a constant urge to do something for the kids back in rural India. She moved back to India to pursue her MBA at IIM Calcutta. While studying, she was sure that she would be teaching on weekends after her MBA but it was during placements she realized that she wanted to do more than just teaching on weekends. With this dilemma, one night she was working half heartedly on her CV. She was not sure if she really wanted to get back to the corporate world. To help her decide, she called her husband who told her to simply follow her heart. She went back to her laptop and deleted the CV she was working on. The decision was made and Gurukul was founded in her mind!
Pooja dropped out of placements leaving behind the life of luxuries and glamour and put together a team who has worked tirelessly since then. On one side, Pooja joined hands with IIT and IIM alumni to get the much needed funds, on the other she worked on the ground to convince people to send their kids to school. With all the hard work and generosity of Pooja, her team and the supporters of Gurukul, Gurukul has grown from 23 kids to nearly 1000 kids today and 30+ qualified teachers, from 3 rooms in 2012 to 30+ rooms and with no infrastructure to a computer lab with 25 machines, a library with 5000+ books, science labs, multi-media room and sports facilities. But the journey doesn’t end here… Gurukul has plans to continue on its journey of excellence, equity and inclusivity so that no child is derived from the opportunities he or she deserves.
Gurukul is located in Purasi village of Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh and managed by a trust called “Ram Dutt Seva Sansthan”. Gurukul is a charitable school which provides highly subsidized education to rural children through a one to one sponsorship by socially conscious individuals across the world. Quality education for a kid for the entire year costs INR 12,000 (~US$ 160). Sponsors can sponsor from one to multiple children on a regular basis or could contribute one off to one of our initiatives or projects to have a much wider impact. Our model not only makes quality education accessible but also gives an opportunity to the sponsors to connect back and see tangible results. We have a rising force of socially conscious individuals who think alike and want to change the world, making it a better and more fair place. Gurukul is a medium to connect these people with the kids and to leverage that connection to inspire young minds for a better tomorrow by providing them excellent, equal and inclusive opportunities of learning and growth.
Gurukul is a dream and a belief!
THE GURUKUL WAY
Gurukul strives to give every child a range of opportunities so that they have the option to choose as per their interest and move away from the shackles of poverty, illiteracy and being underprivileged.
At Gurukul we want our children to be no less than anyone else. In spite of their humble beginnings they would be as confident as their counterparts in any part of the world. When they pass out of class 12 th they are happy, confident individuals who know what they are good at and are ready to make those career choices. They have options to choose.
In Yuval Noah Harari’s, 21 lessons for the 21 st century, he talks about enabling students to discern between relevant and irrelevant information thus enabling self-learning. At Gurukul, we are preparing students for the information age through projects aimed at self-learning, interactions with children from across the world and online assignments.
To enable the children, we at Gurukul focus not only on academics but also on sports. Sports is a great teacher in itself. It teaches spirit of excellence, teamwork, to deal with success and failure, develops personality and desire to win attitude. Sports will give children an option to explore themselves and will highlight their strengths. Winning is a habit and once the children learn this habit, they will never give up and will be on their path of success.
Besides developing world-class online learning facilities, we also want to develop world class Volleyball and Martial arts facilities at school and give these children the best there is. Gurukul will succeed when its children go to IITs, IIMs and Olympic champions too are from Gurukul. We have already introduced Arts and Music although much work still needs to be done to make these hobbies into viable career options.
We believe children learn best by doing and I believe that the best way to enable them in life is also to give them opportunities to explore across academics, sports, music, arts etc. A child needs to discover what they can excel at and then start excelling in the same. Once they believe in themselves, they can achieve much more. Today most of the children in school come from very poor families with very low self-esteem and almost negligible knowledge of the world beyond their villages. To take these children from where they are today to a place where they are ready to face the world is a big challenge. We don’t want to leave the children after class V or class VIII but want to take them all through class 12 th and beyond.