- UPAY’s motto is ‘Reach and Teach’
- Footpath-Shala is its novel scheme
- Focus on skills development
Nagpur: The foundation of development for every society is the education of its youths. Keeping this in mind, an NGO UPAY (Underprivileged Advancement by Youths), was founded in May 2010 by Varun Shrivastava with the help of a group of young engineers from IITs and NITs. Its main aim is to provide opportunities to underprivileged children and bring smiles on the dejected faces. Since its inception, UPAY Team has been working whole heartedly in achieving this aim. Its success story can be gauged by the mere fact that where children were unable to do basic arithmetic calculations are now, not just producing excellent academic results but also bringing laurels to these underprivileged areas. Children who could barely dream about secondary school education are now pursuing and feeling confident in going for higher education. From three members and one centre having 20 children in the year 2010, it has blossomed into a Registered NGO of 15 centres having 1200 children ,spread across two states i.e Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh.
UPAY has the motto of “Reach & Teach”. It aims to REACH every child of underprivileged villages and TEACH them to spread its glory across the country. UPAY has started it’s FOOTPATH-SHALA initiative with aim to provide education to the children living on streets and replace begging bowls in their hands with books. Every day UPAY volunteers go and teach these children at footpath only. These are the children of beggars and street vendors who never went to school. Even young boys and girls of 17-20 years age, are not able to write their name forget about the formal education. UPAY is teaching them basic manners, moral education as well as teaching them reading and writing.
UPAY’s other initiative is APNASAAMAN.COM which is bringing the fruits of upcoming e-commerce revolution to the traditional artisans and craftsmen of the hinterlands of India. The idea is to find the right skills, to ensure skill development of these poor skilled artisans, engage them through social entrepreneurship and provide them a platform or an integrated market where they will be able to sell their products and earn for their livelihood.
UPAY has started a initiative “GRANTH ON RATH” with the notion of providing books to the under-priviledged students.
UPAY had a very humble beginning in a street of a village near Mouda on 12th May 2010 , when a few socially inclined engineers visited that village. The awareness to value of education, personal hygiene and nutrition was missing in the village. The blank faces of the children compelled the young engineers and plodded them to do something for them. Although, in their own way, the children were having a contended and laid back lifestyle, it showed that something was lacking. Parents were apprehensive of sending girls to school. Even young boys were casually consuming “Kharra” (a tobacco product, now banned in Maharashtra). Apart from the traditional schooling that existed, the need for playful, non-formal teaching to kindle learning simple concepts of maths, science, languages interspersed with moral, social values was felt. These young engineers formed a group “UPAY”, which took a challenge of educating these children by starting its maiden centre in Kumbhari Village near Mouda- Nagpur, Maharashtra. Since its inception it has been whole-heartedly supported by the Villagers.
Apart from educating the children, UPAY is also working on how to make these underprivileged areas economically independent. UPAY is targeting to tap the local skills and plans to develop small scale industries. Besides seasonal agricultural income, villagers should have perennial source of income and development. For this, a small development is introduction of an online portal,”apnasaaman.com”. On this the local products developed by the villagers are available for sale. So that apart from the weekly village markets and limited customer base now their produce are getting exposure to a wide network. People in the urban areas who always felt the requirement of traditional ware but could not fetch them in the cities are now able to get it online. UPAY is empowering the womenfolk of the villages, who are traditionally skilled in preparing items like achar, papad, “thecha”, chatni, chikki(groundnut, rajgira) bamboo baskets, potteries and handicrafts by providing them a wider market.
UPAY has produced excellent academic results in its centres. We have also adopted various government schemes to make rural people aware of their benefits, like the STAR scheme (Standard Training Assessment and Reward) in which training was imparted to help them get jobs in retail sector. Apart from academics, we also provide soft skills, vocational training and computer education to these students so that they can earn their living and lead a respectful life. To make them aware and show that a variety of life exists even further away from their habitats, UPAY have successfully organised outbound training camps, health check-up camps, sports meet, painting and rangoli competitions and many other extra-curricular activities to keep them physically and mentally sound. The name of UPAY is spreading at a brisk pace, Many students of reputed colleges are volunteering to associate with us for getting trained.
UPAY wants to bring a change in life of every underprivileged child, to remove the disparity in field of education, to tap the immense power of this youth and make them face this world with confidence. These young boys and girls are future of this society and UPAY aims to create a better future.
“Where the vision is two year, cultivate flowers.
Where the vision is ten years, cultivate trees.
Where the vision is eternity, cultivate people.”
“I had seen millions of children live in the streets of cities and beg for their mere survival. While their presence may be noticed in developed as well as developing countries, however, the majority of street children live in India. I always wanted to do something for these children and fortunately I got this amazing opportunity under the banner of UPAY.
UPAY is giving the underprivileged children the skills and confidence they need to succeed.
Working with UPAY is an amazing experience of teaching and learning. The students are very smart and with little dedication and guidance can go a long way.
I would not say I taught someone, rather I’ve learned from them- how to smile and work hard even if surrounded by hurdles of life.
I appreciate the endeavour of UPAY team in bringing up the underprivileged children.
Every cause is worth volunteering for. I believe actions speak louder than words and if each of us does our duty and volunteers in our own capacity, we can go a long way.
We were lucky enough to go to schools, study in good colleges & look forward for a bright future. By just contributing a small portion of our free time, we can make a world of a difference in their life. Come and give it a try & then decide. Just a few hours can change someone’s life.”