In the heart of the cities, where the disparity between poverty and wealth is glaringly evident, Mr. Harshal Dhoke decided to be a beacon of hope for underprivileged students through his charity organisation, ‘Shashi Dream Foundation’.
Harshal Dhoke, an accomplished graduate of IIT BHU Varanasi and IIM Rohtak, had embarked on a successful career as an employee at a government bank. However, during a Diwali vacation spent with his family, a profound question from his house help left a lasting impact on his heart.
You must be happy; your kids go to a good school, you have good parents, and you got a job, but our children don’t have all these privileges. I don’t know how they will get ahead in life.
This question struck a chord within Dhoke and ignited a deep-seated passion for bridging the educational divide. He embarked on a mission to provide quality education to those denied access. He transformed an extra room in his house into a sanctuary, a pathshala, where children from nearby slums could gather to study and receive the education they deserved. Thus he set up the non-profit organisation ‘Shashi Dream Foundation’ to change the life course of all the marginalised children around him using the most impactful weapon–education.
Recognising the crucial role of parental involvement in a child’s educational journey, Dhoke sought to fill the void left by the absence of educated mothers in many households. It was here that the Shashi Dream Foundation distinguished itself. Teachers within the foundation embraced the role of nurturing mothers, becoming guiding lights for these young learners. The foundation drew its name from Dhoke’s mother, symbolising the transformative power of education and the nurturing love mothers bestow upon their children.
Harshal Dhoke shares, ” At Shashi Dream Foundation, our teachers embrace the role of compassionate mothers, guiding their students through their educational journey. They go beyond traditional instruction, delving into their student’s academic experiences, inquiring about their classroom lessons and helping them with homework assignments.“
The students who found solace in the Shashi Dream Foundation came from families engaged in the challenging and often hazardous occupation of sewer cleaning. Before joining the foundation, these children would accompany their parents after school to assist in this work. However, their lives took a remarkable turn as they began attending the foundation’s classes, where they excelled in their studies and mastered the English language. Witnessing their children converse in English, their parents recognised the value of education and ceased dragging them into their daily labour.
What started with a humble group of 10–40 students, lacking proper seating arrangements, has blossomed into establishing four offline centres–two in Maharashtra and two in Bihar. The foundation’s reach has expanded through online education, serving students from various states across India, including Kerala, Karnataka and beyond. To ensure effective learning, the foundation assigned one teacher to monitor the progress of five students in offline classes. At the end of every month, the teachers make an assessment report on how much each child has learned. With a dedicated team of five full-time teachers and an army of 50+ volunteers, the Shashi Dream Foundation is making a lasting impact on the lives of countless students.
Amidst the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, offline classes became difficult. Determined to ensure uninterrupted education, the Shashi Dream Foundation embraced online platforms, leading to a collaboration with BYJU’S. Through this collaboration, the foundation harnessed the power of BYJU’S app and enlisted the expertise of IIT students, Tata employees and other organisations. These passionate individuals, including volunteers from America and Sri Lanka, became trainers for the students, transcending geographical boundaries to provide quality education.
“We foster collaborations with students from esteemed institutions like IITs and other colleges, creating a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s a win-win situation where they gain valuable internship certificates while we acquire dedicated educators to teach our students,” says Harshal Dhoke
For students who could not afford tuition, particularly those preparing for the 10th and 12th standards, classes with BYJU’S became a lifeline. Through fundraising efforts and the support of dedicated volunteers, they managed to obtain used mobile phones. By installing BYJU’S app on these devices, students gained access to a world of knowledge and interactive learning experiences.
The teachers from the foundation track the students’ engagement with the app, ensuring they complete the assigned content. To motivate village students, the foundation implemented a campaign to offer rewards such as school bags to those who demonstrated commitment to learning. The impact of BYJU’S app became evident as students acquired new learning techniques, impressing their school teachers with their newfound knowledge.
Dhoke says, “BYJU’S app is helping the parents also, as it helps parents understand how much their child has learned. Also, the graphically represented content makes learning all the way easier for kids.”
Through their collaboration with BYJU’S, the Shashi Dream Foundation equips underprivileged students with the tools and knowledge to create a brighter future. Together, they bridge the gap between privilege and opportunity, demonstrating that education can transform lives.
In the vast ocean of disparity, the Shashi Dream Foundation and BYJU’S are the guiding stars, illuminating the path towards a more equitable society through the gift of education.
Arya C is a 4th grader who talks about her transition from the US to India and how BYJU`S has helped her at that. She also loves how BYJU`S has made learning a lot more fun.
Meet Sourabh who has a ton to say about his BYJU`S learning experience. His love for quizzes, games and other fun activities are paying off!
V Shriya is a class eight student who has been using BYJU’S for a year now. She shares her experiences with using the app and how it has helped her in improving her academic performance.