Panah: Founder’s Story
The origin of Panah is embedded in my childhood journey. Contrary to my name Naresh, which means King, my childhood has been anything but king size. I was born in 1994 to a family who had migrated from Nepal and worked as labour in Ahmedabad. My mother is my father’s second wife and I have one elder brother and five sisters. I spent the first five years of my life in Nepal with my mother while my father was in India. Then my mother also shifted to Ahmedabad leaving me behind with my step mother and later with my aunt.
At the age of 6, I also shifted to Ahmedabad to be with my parents. My trip to India was a series of firsts for me – first bus ride lasted for 4 days to reach Ahmedabad), first visit to a city, first time ate food outside home. I was very happy for the first 15 days. And then the reality sunk. My mother worked as a maid in other people’s house earning Rs 1200 each month and my father was a daily wager with a salary of Rs 4000. My father was an alcoholic and would beat up my mother after getting drunk. The earnings were not enough as we had to pay the rent, my sister’s school fee and a lot was spent by my father on his alcohol. In the given scenario, money was the most important thing and values were secondary.
I am self Motivated ''positive thing in negative life''
I am self Motivated ''positive thing in negative life''
" />My parents enrolled me in a government school. Few days later I needed some money for school project. I knew I could not ask my parents. So I decided to do something myself without informing my parents. I started rag picking that day and so began my journey of earning money at 6 years. Two weeks later my parents found out and my father gave me a good beating as he thought it was not appropriate work for me. But whenever I needed money I would do rag picking without informing my parents.
Next year with efforts of my mother, she enrolled me in a private school with a fee of Rs 70. Soon I joined a biscuit factory where we had to pack biscuits. I worked there for 6 months and then moved to work in tea stall. After some time my mother got a job in a school as a peon cum cleaner. She got permission to start a food stall in the school. I started working with my mother at the stall after school. One of the teachers, Jyotsna Ben, was a great support in helping us and teaching my mother about management of money and saving money. During this time we managed to own a small house in a chawl and I cleared my tenth class with 51%.
By the time I cleared my matric, I would take up any odd jobs of being a waiter or selling fruit waste in the fruit market and then as a skilled labour in an industry. As an industrial worker, this was the first time that I had earned Rs 2380 in 18 days. However, what troubled me was the fact that we laborers worked so hard but had no fixed salary, no perks of PF or ESI and no job security.
As I joined school back for my 11th and 12th, I could work part time as a waiter in a restaurant. So I joined Hotel Navjivan and started my hospitality career. I was quick to learn managing and serving tables. My boss appreciated my work. During these school years, many times I would end up fighting with my father as he would drink and beat my mother. There are many instances when I left home and spent nights on the railway station for days after fighting with my father. After one such fight before class 12 exams, I stayed for 10 days in the hotel I was working. My boss was supportive and gave me time to study to appear for the exams.
After 12th Class, I joined bachelor program in college. In the college, I joined NCC. I kept working in hotels in the evening. I changed hotels as and when I got more salary and with experience I got senior positions in the restaurants where I worked. My work gave me the opportunity to meet new people and learn from them. Soon I started my own small restaurant. In my first year of college, I felt the need to do more and I started the Nepali Helpline to provide support to Nepali migrant labour. At work I met some people from Ajeevika Bureau and joined them as a volunteer. This was my first exposure to the social sector.
I had this deep desire to learn English as I felt it was important for me to progress in life. I met Mr Anil Raina who was manager in Hotel Kalki where I was working. He was a trained professional in hospitality and with him I started learning English. Luckily for me, a group of people from Teach for India visited the restaurant. I happened to talk to them and expressed my desire to work with them. Few days later I got a call from them asking me to appear for an interview.
I joined Teach for India in October 2014. This was a life transforming experience. I met incredible people at work who changed the way I viewed and perceived life. Their passion to work, teach and help others had a great impact on me. Few months of working in a great environment with Teach for India, I realized that I am lucky to have reached here. And all this has been possible because of the education and the right exposure I got inspite of my hardships. This ignited the desire in me to share what I have received and create opportunities for others like me. So I borrowed money and opened a center at Memco for teaching children of migrants and other social service for the laborers. My mission is that
“Every labour should become a smart labour”.
Thus, Panah was born out of my desire to empower the labour and provide equal opportunities to children of laborers. Four key persons who have been the back bone of Panah are – Mohan Basnet, Ranjeet Kori, Now my partner, who has been the first person to support my ideas; Sangeeta Kamal, my college companion, who has supported me personally to get through college by teaching me and now is part of Panah and Bhavya Didi who is working in Ajeevika beuro and now is our Advisory board. And more of people in my knowledge who support me direct and indirect.
And this is my story
Now I am really passionate and don’t want to go back to hotel job now I just want to share my experience and want to make labors smart with Training, Information, and Education for their kids.
I just believe in that ‘’Help is one time Investment and life time Income’’
and most of things all happened my life is ok.. taking me out from all my funny style and my funny nature... I am really telling you this is giving me such a big fun... I don't want to unhappy to any and I just want to make happy to all.
''Be happy to make happy''
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