Nikos’s saying perfectly describes the story of a special teacher, Sandeep Desai, who has devoted his life in providing free English medium education to impoverished kids. What makes him one of a kind is that he contributes towards running these schools with the help of public.
“True Teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis.
Sandeep Desai is 52 years young. An ex-Marine Engineer and a Professor at S P Jain Institute of Management and research in Mumbai began his service in 1997 for the Shloka foundation-an English Medium School that provides free education to underprivileged kids.
Their main goal was to provide schooling for economically backward kids in rural areas of Maharashtra and Rajasthan. The first target area was the kids from the Goregaon slums. This mission extended towards establishing the second school in Ratnagiri for rural kids in 2005.
However, the construction stopped due to insufficient funds. Professor Sandeep’s journey of raising funds began. He decided to beg for funds in the local trains of Mumbai from Church-gate stop in Mumbai travelling back and forth.
Professor begins his announcement with Donating charity for education is the supreme form of charity in the history of mankind. He carries newspaper cut-outs about articles that speak of his foundation.
He mentions that he is the Founder of Shlok Public Trust and that he is on a mission to establish English medium schools in rural areas, inviting commuters to join his mission by donating. Donations received vary between Re. 1 to Rs. 1000. Professor Sandeep collects almost Rs. 3000/- per day.
Smile is always up and shining on his face throughout the day. He feels rewarded and thanks the generosity of the passengers as well as the cooperation of the railway staff for making this happen.
Professor Sandeep owns five English medium schools across Maharashtra and Rajasthan providing education to 500 kids. He also states that “Intelligent kids seem to fail exams due to lack of knowledge in English and Science and I want to make every child of our country literate!”.
The parents of these kids who never imagined affording English medium education have been very grateful to Professor Sandeep.
To strive so hard by begging for donations in local trains for the education of economically backward children is the most humble act of kindness.
Professor Sandeep wishes to establish schools all over the country to diminish illiteracy. His strong message to mankind with which he closes his announcement in the train is, “Give a man food, you fed him for a day; Give a man education, you have fed him for a lifetime!” It is very true that teachers like Professor Sandeep strive to make our country a better place for children; let us contribute in killing illiteracy and help Professor Sandeep in his mission!