Aruna Diwakar’s Kritagyata aims to help the needy gain access to basic rights, empower their children through education, and prepare them for the competitive world.
Kritagyata, a Bengaluru-based NGO, aims to help vulnerable and underprivileged children through education. Founded by Aruna Diwakar, their flagship programme ‘Vidya Spoorthi’ helps children gain access to education through multiple verticals.
“We provide books and stationery, renovate and restore ‘bad’ schools, take extra classes to teach the basics and help them (children) to understand the curriculum, especially English and computers,” she says.
Started in 2015 with three children, today the organisation is helping more than 2,800 underprivileged kids gain access to food and education. Their orphanage ‘MY HOME’ has 12 children, who are provided food, clothing, shelter, education and health facilities.
Aruna started this organisation when she was 32 years old. Previously she worked with an MNC, and was the head of sales. However, the 9-to-6 job did not interest her. Since her early 20s, she was motivated to make “at least a small difference” in her life by providing help to the needy.
"After spending a decade working with various NGOs and volunteering social projects, and as we got more involved in supporting the needy, I realised there is always a growing gap,” she says.
Hence, she started Kritagyata with an aim to help the needy gain access to their basic rights, and help the children through education and make them sustainable “to face this competitive world in a healthy way.”
Kritagyata for her means gratitude – a gratitude towards God. She says her family has always stood by her and supported her to fulfil her dream.
“The immediate challenges these children face is they can’t understand the normal language when it comes to ethics, education and life skills, what we adults call as civic sense. They take a lot of time to understand and practice everyday activities like using toilets, keeping themselves clean, and even oral hygiene,” she says.
To address these challenges, Kritagyata helps the women and children associated with her organisation through the following initiatives:
- MY HOME Orphanage: MY HOME is run by individuals’ donations, who support the children financially and through sponsorships in terms of expenses related to school-fees and medical support. All the children under this initiative are girls, who are either orphans or have single parents.
Vidya Spoorthi: This education empowerment programme caters to rural and underprivileged children, in order to support them study uninterruptedly, by providing school materials. The organisation adopts the ‘bad shaped schools’ to renovate, and help the students continue their studies.“Under the Vidya Spoorthi programme, we have built a toilet for girls, apart from the book donation drive and volunteering,” Aruna adds.
- Prerna: This is a tailor-made programme for vulnerable women. This programme aims to build their confidence and self-esteem by helping them with skill training and counselling.
- Prakruthi: This programme focuses on environment awareness and promotes planting of trees by school children. Children are also made aware about the ways to keep the environment clean and help conserve its resources.
- Sanjeevani: This initiative is aimed at organising medical camps in rural areas and helping people become more aware of their general health. The villagers are supported and guided by doctors, who provide them treatment at a subsidised cost.
- Punarjeevana: This activity lays emphasis on organ donation. The organisation is an interface where people can register for organ donations.
Aruna hopes to create awareness about organ donation in the near future. While funding and lack of manpower remain her key challenges, Aruna hopes that through education, these children will secure a better future for themselves.
“We have also started extra classes under the Vidya Spoorthi programme for government school children, by teaching them communication and English. When we did a survey among 33 students, we found only two students who scored above 50 percent,” she shares.
Her team is on a mission to create a holistic environment of learning, where each child prospers and has the potential to become independent and financially secure.