#1 Streets to Schools: Over 5 decades of shaping young minds

Way back in 1964, when Smt. Ratan devi Mohta, one of the Mandal's foremost committee members initiated Adarsh Vidyalaya, it was a small step towards a big change. As women and mothers themselves, Mandal's first generation of change makers set out to transform the future of the less fortunate children. The purpose was clear: to give them an equal opportunity to learn, grow and have a future as bright as their own children.

When purpose meets action

with this mission, a small space and handful teachers, RMM's first ever, Hindi Medium Primary School opened doors to children from the slums and streets of Mumbai. it was decided that the school would not only offer free schooling but also provide mid-day meals, uniforms, textbooks and necessary stationery items to the children at no cost at all. The teachers personally visited slums and labour camps around Dhobi ghaat, Kamathipura, Mumbai Central, Worli, Mahalakshmi and Byculla to spread awareness and convince parents to send their children to the school. A dedicated school bus began doing the rounds to pick up and drop children, which further encouraged parents to keep them from begging or engaging in child labour.

With action, comes growth

Soon, children started to pour in and the 5 classrooms began to fall short. In 1977, another branch of the school was opened at the new premises in Forjett Street, Mumbai. In 2006, RMM began an English Medium High School out of the 7-storey owned premises. All 3 schools provide quality education aswell as extra curricular activities for the children's all round development. Many well-wishers supported the intiatives by contributing towards better infrastructure, which further facilitated a library, computer lab, e-learning screens and special coaching as well grooming for the students.

Measuring the impact in smiles

Over five decades ago, a bunch of do-gooders set out to give young minds a fair chance at future. Today their third generations continue to work in the direction with the same spirit and enthusiasm. Of course, there are rewards to look forward to: watching the tiny tots grow into confident, responsible citizens. Nothing is more fulfilling than creating a generation of doers who look forward to a bright future, better opportunities and most importantly, paying back to the society. All 7000 of our students have grown to write their own success stories. Many of them are pursuing their higher studies in fields such as engineering and Chartered Accountancy in renowned colleges, while the alumnis follow their dream professions as teacher, engineer, C.A. and news anchor.

#2 Destiny's Children: Students who found a new way of life

The journey from 5 small classrooms to the 3 fully functional schools wasn't easy. The Mandal's challenges were beyond the need for adequate resources and infrastructure. While the purpose of educating less fortunate children was crystal clear and noble, bringing them to the classrooms needed more than good intentions. Our teachers and members rolled up their sleeves and volunteered to personally go around the streets of Mumbai to convince the parents and children to enrol fro the school. They went from street to street -from the bylanes of byculla to the ghettoes of Kamathipura in hope for a brighter future of the innocent little children born there. Little did they know what an enormous impact their selfless gesture was about to bring.

A learning curve became a turning point

Since the inception of the Adarsh Vidyalaya, thousands of students from the weaker segments of the society have got a fresh start in life. Take an example of the siblings Razia Sheikh and Sameer Sheikh who used to live on the footpath before they were motivated to join the school. Both of them are studying well today and thank the teachers who first introduced them to the classrooms.

A heart and Mind of gold

Rinku Jain, another students of the Hindi Medium school was fighting a heart problem at a very tender age. The Mandal took charge of her surgery and looked after her recovery. Today, Rinku is not only healthy and hearty but is also doing very well in the class.

From food for thought to a change of mind

A young boy, Suraj Gupta was found loitering at the Dhobi Ghaat, chewing tobacco. The teachers motivated him to attend the school and enrolled him for the free pickup and drop bus service. He was excited to get a fresh pair of uniform, books and pen. Slowly and steadily he replaced the unhealthy tobacco with the healthy mid day meals he received at the school at no cost. He is grateful to the Mandal for the day he first came across the teacher who changed his life.

Rich mind. Poor dad.

Fahim Ansari, a very bright student from the Adarsh Vidyalaya came from a very poor family. His passion for studies was evident in the class and on the scorecard. Looking at his excellent potentials to grow, the teachers encouraged him for extra coaching in English. In 2010, he was promoted to RMM English Medium school - directly from 6th class to the 8th, with students his age. Fahim excelled at every activity he pursued and became a topper in the school. After SSC, the Mandal financial backed him up for further education in his choice of stream - Science. He continues to make the Mandal proud by studying as diligently as he did as that small boy with a rich mind.

#3 Being The Change: Three Generations of change makers

Despite being the first generation of the independent Inida, women still didn't enjoy the same freedom as men, way back in 1955. This is when a few women from the conventional marwari families took a leap of faith and ventured out to serve the less fortunate women and children with the skills and resourced they could pool in. Mrs. Damayanti Pittie and Mrs. Sulochana Pittie are two of the most senior members of the Mandal from the time. At 86 years, Damayanti bai, as she's fondly known at the Mandal, is actively taking care of the accounts since 1961. With no formal training or experience, she learnt the nuances of finance and became an expert money manager. Her diligence and focus comes from her passion for collecting stamps. A winner of many Gold medal for her collection, she was also on the international jury. Trusted as the treasurer for over 25 years, she was recently awarded the position of the President of the apex body at Philately Congress of India. Despite her achievements, she remains as humble and silent as the day she first joined the Mandal. Damayanti bai continiues to bring in fresh ideas for the Mandal's growth even today, after a thorough groundwork at her end.

Passing the baton to the next generation

Coming from a well known family in old Calcutta (Now Kolkata), Mrs. Sulochana Pittie was wise and well connected. She never shied away from pooling in resources from her personal network of friends, family and relatives. Her association with the Mandal goes as far as the Mandal's inception. At 81 years of age, her focus remains inspiring the next generation of dogooders to join the mission, as the trustees are getting old now. She is the one who started Srishti - the Mandal's Youth Wing; and involved the daughters as well as daughters-in-law of the senior members in the Mandal's activities. Always leading with example, Sulochanaji continues to rope in likeminded women with the same drive and dedication as the first generation. She is relentless in her mission to inspire the youth to take forward the mission and the Mandal they have so lovingly nurtured.

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