“One of the 1st standardkids once asked me - Why do stars shine? Why are few kids rich and why are few of them poor?” shares Aman. In government schools, things work on ‘chalta hai’ terms. The lives of talented students hang in air. They face lack of facilities, resources and guidance. Having experienced the same, Aman Jain, the Founder of Zav Foundation wanted to transform the way things work in these schools. “It is hard to see a student collapsing in an assembly of government school (due to malnutrition, shortage of food) – I wanted to change all of that crap. I was surprised to see the level of curiosity and the potential of a I std kid in a government school with such mind boggling questions in the mind. I wanted to answer all of them, head on!” shares Aman.
Through Bangalore based Zav Foundation, the volunteers/reflective practitioners are trained to guide the teachers in various government schools, teach the students and help in bridging the gap. Zav Foundation has even helped in transforming the state of facilities in government run educational institutions. Having been inspired by Dr Abdul Kalam’s Vision 2020, Zav Foundation wishes to take India from ‘developing’ to ‘developed’ country.
It all began on 5th January, 2009 – without a single coin in their pockets. Aman had presented the plan at NIT Hamirpur in their Youth Conference- National Indian Student Forum while he was in final year of Engineering and it was embraced positively. It was called Mission Zav then.
Later on, after having a casual talk with one of the juniors in college- Arjun Shekhar responded, “achcha hai, mereko bhi aisa kuch toh karneka hai!” The duo started creating some buzz on Orkut and eventually their friends started inquiring about Zav. They were struck by “kadki” but still they kept on visiting schools and interacted with the students. The scenario was very de-motivating. No one gave them “bhaav” as they were a pack of youngsters. Principals of government schools used to grill them. Gradually, after seeing the way they interacted and after taking the feedback of students, things changed!
Now, after 3 years, the volunteers have grown to the number of 60 and so have the roles of various team members. Currently, they have 3 members who govern the board – Aman, Arjun and Saranya Francis. Apart from them, there are other members who manage various roles in organization such as: Chief Information Officer, Manager (Internships), Manager (Social Media), Manager (Operations), Manager (Finance/Legal)
With lots of hard work and zeal, Zav Foundation has been successful in organizing various seminars, youth leadership programs, awareness forums, donation of books across government schools of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. They have even conducted mock placements in various government colleges.
Yet, the road for them is tough in terms of getting proactive volunteers, recruiting reflective practitioners, getting resources, material and most of all money! They have received a word of appreciation from U.S, Europe, Africa but the overall response from India or from their state- Karnataka, is not very inspiring. Nevertheless, they are optimistic and are meeting like-minded people who are working on the same lines and are collaborating with them for bigger initiatives. Zav employs Facebook and Twitter to create buzz about Zav Foundation and thereby making more people aware about their work.On being asked about the best part of being a social entrepreneur, Aman said, “You are liked by a lot of people because you add value to their lives. It takes me on a high to see that in some or the other way I have positively changed the angle of a child’s thinking.”
Zav Foundation has modest sum in its bank account, yet, in future, they wish to establish RLDCs (Rural learning and development centres) in various villages of India in order to empower the citizens with literacy, numeracy and IT skills.