[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Sakshi Srivastava’s bid to provide every child with a childhood that counts

With Anubhuti, Sakshi Srivastava is working with underprivileged children to ensure their right to education and the right to a proper childhood.

[100 Emerging Women Leaders] Sakshi Srivastava’s bid to provide every child with a childhood that counts

Friday March 03, 2023,

4 min Read

In 2013, Sakshi Srivastava witnessed two children—eleven and eight years old—eating from the plate she just discarded in the dustbin at a Delhi-based fast food restaurant. 

She was stunned to see that a child could not make a difference between what should be eaten and what not. The incident left her determined to find the reason behind this—was it the lack of education or extreme hunger?

Hailing from Jalalabad near Bareilly district, Srivastava witnessed the girls in her village lamentably face the age-old question, “What is the purpose of making you study?”

Unfortunately, it remains the reality for many underprivileged girls, and escaping it is not easy. However, her father decided to break away from this vicious cycle. 

He was the first parent to advocate for Srivastava's sister to complete her higher education at Banaras Hindu University, Uttar Pradesh. 

This was just the beginning. “From there on, the rest of us three siblings went ahead to finish our higher studies as well,” she says. 

Srivastava completed her Bachelors in Botany and Masters in Social Work and Counselling from Miranda House, Delhi University.

“I remember people saying a lot of things. They suspected I would run away, but my father paid no heed to any of it,” she recalls.

Post the incident involving the children, she started visiting organisations that worked with underprivileged children to understand their situation better. 

“I got to know that these children were either dropouts or out-of-school children. Upon secondary research, I found that there were 47 million children who shared a similar fate,” she says, adding that these children would get trapped in low-income jobs or child labour and spend the rest of their lives doing just that. 


An underprivileged child herself, Srivastava resonated with the atrocities these kids were subject to. “I wanted to work for these children and be a resource person for them, just like my father had been for me,” she shares. 

In 2016, along with her friends Monica Lamba and Dilip Suthar, she started Anubhuti—a non-profit organisation working with underprivileged children to provide quality education.

They started their journey with 30 children from Majnu-ka-Tilla, Delhi, and proceeded to open a centre in Ghaziabad. 

Over the years, the organisation has modified its overall work to best suit the betterment of the children it helps. At present, Anubhuti has a strong team of 200 individuals, of which 89% are women. 

The BRIDGE Fellowship, an initiative of Anubhuti, brings together young girls from the local communities where it operates. 

Srivastava states, “These girls are like me back in my early days. They want to do something but do not have the opportunities.”

“We identify them, conduct their capacity and skill building. We teach the children, connect them to the government school system, and regularly follow up to ensure they do not drop out again,” she adds. 

Having withstood the test of the COVID-19 pandemic, Anubhuti now operates in Gurugram, Faridabad, and Mewat in Haryana and Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. 

Unfortunately, Srivastava had to face many challenges as a young woman leader—be it in running the operations or pitching for funds. In fact, on one occasion, she says she was asked to "spend the night" in exchange for funds. Yet, she remained undeterred in her mission.

Amidst this, what keeps her going on is her spirit to help underprivileged children and the support from her team in making it all possible.

Srivastava wants all women leaders to believe in themselves. She says, “Many hurdles will come your way, you may fail, but every failure is a learning in itself, and it will teach you something or the other.”

Further, she asks them to find time for themselves. “You will be able to work appropriately only if you can function properly, and for that, you need some space for yourself. Even if you take up a small thing, go for it, it will empower you a lot,” she adds.

Disclaimer: This story has been updated to correct the name of a person mentioned in one instance.

Edited by Suman Singh