Before giving a call to Mr. Shadab Hassan for the interview, I watched some of his speeches and was totally overwhelmed, rather I would say intimidated by his personality. But by the end of the interview I realized that he is just like all of us trying to bring change in this world. After doing his MBA from Birla Institute of Technology, Mesra and gave up a chance of an amazing career and instead went to his father’s village, Brambe which is located around 25 kms away from Ranchi. The winner of Yuva Prabodhan-2012 award , says that HH High School is his first baby and is very close to him.
Q-‘Reach to Teach’ how did it all start?
A- In Brambe they did not care about the education, they were just happy that their child is going to school, but they didn’t really know what he is learning in school. So we made them realize that they are responsible for what their child is doing in school. So this is how ‘Reach to Teach’ started. There were also issues of children of the widows. In-laws of these widows refused to take care of them. Her own parents were so much under debts and loans because of her marriage that it was not possible for them to teach their grandchildren.
It is very difficult to survive on a daily basis and in such condition education is a luxury for them. So we started teaching these kids for free.
Q-What led to the idea of giving employment to the local people rather than hiring professionals for work like stitching uniforms?
A- There are so many people who needed help. We get our uniforms stitched locally from Brambe , rather than Ranchi. We have so many people who needed help and we don’t have the resources.
Q-You think that offering free education for one out of three siblings of a family would also help parents to realize the importance of family planning?
A– See, I wouldn’t take credit for that. If the parents are sending in two out of three children then for the third child they will obviously think “ Chal tu bhi akela ghar par kya karega,tu bhi chale ja” . We also offered that we will teach your son for free only if you also send your daughter to school. So to teach their son they would send in their daughters too and you know in India boys get higher preference than girls.
Q-How did you inspire mothers’ for Maatri — an initiative to teach mothers?
A- Honestly, mothers were willing to study .The only challenging part was that they were busy with the household works and with children. We focused on teaching them how to atleast write their names so that they don’t have to use their thumb impressions for Ration card and Adhaar card. So yeah! I would say this way Maatri became very successful.
Q- How do you think ‘Passion’ play an important role in an individual’s life?
A- Passion is the driving force of life. We didn’t have benches, we didn’t have teachers, we didn’t have classrooms, nothing, and only thing we had was – passion. So I think we don’t even need resources just the passion.
Q- How did you motivate youngsters and young minds to come and volunteer and teach these children?
A- We started collaborating with colleges and had student volunteers coming in. We associated with Birla Institute of technology and St Xavier Ranchi. We also had two foreign interns and one of them Aksana wants to do her second internship with us as well. We also had share our laptop initiative, where we asked college students to come and share the laptops with our children as we don’t have any computer labs. So four to five children would share one laptop under their guidance so that they can monitor any mishap and also could guide them. We also started with the project WOW (Wonder over web).
The idea behind WOW is to connect the rural kids with kids from different parts of the world over video calls and give them a platform to discuss debate, interact or simply chat. This really helped in giving kids the right kind of exposure they deserve.
The first school to participate was Oklahoma Public School, USA .Then we had Holy Heart School, Raipur and other groups of volunteers with kids from mixed schools. Any individual can volunteer to contribute in this initiative. All they need is a laptop, a dongle/internet connection and a bunch of kids and they can book a slot to interact with our kids
Q- Just like you and there are hundreds of young entrepreneurs who want to change the world. What is the one tip you would like to give them ?
The one tip I have for them is ‘DO’ Do what you can with whatever you have where ever you are.
A- I would say there are more than hundred, the number is higher than that. Just imagine all of us start taking this initiative, I am doing this in Brambe someone else start doing this somewhere else and this continues , there would be one day the illiteracy will end . In social venture we don’t have competitors, we only have co-workers . You have to change your mind set for that. All these people together can bring about a bigger change .
Be a part of Reach to Teach and WOW because as Shadab Hassan says “All of us together can bring greater change in this world. “
What Are You Doing to Make A Change Today?
He is just one one among the many angels that make hundreds of children smile every day.
Shadab Hassan is one of those many who are helping change India. Know someone? Let us know at email@example.com !
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