Vidyapith, an NGO based in Birmingham caters to the need of education in rural India. Mr. Indrajit Ray, founder of this organisation shares his journey over the years with Subhadrika Sen from Asian Lite News
Vidyapith- is a ray of hope to those school students who deserve great academics but due to financial incapability of their schools, are unable to take full advantage of their school’s facilities. This non-profit organisation works mostly due to its efficient donors and volunteers.
Started on 10th of July 2005, this year marks the eleventh anniversary of this organisation. In these eleven years, the NGO has extended its help to over a 100 schools in rural West Bengal.
Vidyapith was founded by Professor Indrajit Ray, Economist at Cardiff University. The Board of Trustees include Ms Diya Sen, Tax Consultant, KPMG Birmingham; Dr Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, Economist, Birmingham Business School; Dr. Chirantan Ganguly, Economist, Queen’s University Belfast Management School and Dr. Sukand Ramachandran, Partner and Managing Director, BCG London.
Mr Ray speaks exclusively to Asian Lite News and explains the motive behind formulating such an NGO. He understands that even though every year many students and employees step out of the boundaries of their nation for education and work purpose; it still remains their responsibility to work towards a better future for their homeland. Thus, in his zest to give something back to India, a country that has given him a lot, he started Vidyapith. The aim of the organisation is to help rural schools financially, so that they can provide the minimum facilities to their students. Ray chose the path of developing education as this field has become one of the most neglected ones in the wake of contemporary commercialisation and political disturbances.
Interestingly, each and every school that Vidyapith has helped has been done under proper supervision. Vidyapith has no branches in India. Most of the field work is taken care of by like- minded volunteers, many of whom are teachers themselves and knows the importance of providing proper educational facilities to each student.
Vidyapith runs purely on the donations by generous donors and regular contributors. Their modus operandi is very transparent and accountable to the public. The financial budget can be viewed on the website. In eleven years, it has aided many schools with a collection of around 96,000 GBP (around 80 lakhs INR). The process of getting grants for schools has to be made through direct application to the organisation.
Recently, a programme called ‘An evening With Tagore ‘was organised by this NGO. Rabindranath Tagore, has a profound influence in the lives of every Indian especially Bengalis. Thus, the evening saw a variety of performances. ‘Chithi’, based on ‘Dakghar’ (The Post Office) was performed by a group of children. Other performances included recitations by Aniruddha Chakravarti, Josh Surjo Ray and Upasana Bhaumik; songs by Sumitra Ghosh; dance by Atreyee Bhattacharya and narrations by Anushka Chakravarti and Biman Chakraborty. Interestingly, no tickets were sold for this show. The proceeds were collected on voluntary contributions and added to the Vidyapith fund.
When asked about some of the most memorable moments of his journey with Vidyapith, Ray replied that the ability to be able to recreate a classroom experience for thousands of students is what gives him immense joy. The very fact that students too can take the benefits of small things such as benches, chairs and tables which would provide them the feeling of sitting in a proper classroom is most precious to him.
Lastly, Mr. Ray puts across an important message to all British Indians or the Bengali community in the UK. He says that Indians should be forever indebted to their country for who they are in the present. Thus it is pay back time for the development of the country. He requests all the readers to contact them if they would want to help in upholding the noble objectives of Vidyapith.
The official website of the organisation is www.vidyapith.net . Furthermore, they can be contacted through their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Vidyapith.EducationEradicatesPoverty/.