Together “we” can do- StudyMall at Sandbox Samvidha,Hubbali

Thinksharp Foundation team has another proud moment as its achievement this year.  Our project “StudyMall” was selected among all the other NGO’s from India to be presented at Sandbox Samvidha, Deshpande foundation.

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One of the most exciting and motivational factor  for us about this event was a chance  to meet Dr.Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande sir. Words might fall short to describe. Dr. Deshpande, Founder of Deshpande Foundation, Hubbali. He has pursued an entrepreneurial career for the last three decades.  He is involved either as the founder, a founding investor or chairman of several companies.Dr. Deshpande lives in Boston and serves as a life-member of the MIT Corporation, and he is responsible for MIT’s Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation at Massachusetts. Deshpande Foundation has three other centers. He  co-chairs as a National Council to support President Obama’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategy. http://www.deshpandefoundation.org/about-us/founders/desh-deshpande/

Dr.Desh Deshpande

The next important factor for our excitement was chance to visit  Sandbox Samvidha at Deshpande Foundation Hubbali.  Sandbox works to create an effective ecosystem where resources are put to use through entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability.   Sandbox provides opportunities to all NGO  teams to meet and interact with each other, to share their solutions to help society and also gives chance to talk to people who have impacted society on larger scale through there NGO, may it be founders of large NGO, Academicians, Sandbox CEO, MD, Support team, Social entrepreneurs etc (http://www.deshpandefoundation.org/programs/deshpande-center-for-social-entrepreneurship/)

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Highlight of this trip was  location of Deshpande Foundation, the center building  and the amazing team. We traveled from Hyderabad and right from how to travel and where to stay we were helped  by Sandbox’s team member Miss.Veena.  Deshpande foundation is located inside BVB engineering college Hubbali Karnataka. The building is very nice structure which practically creates that sense of positivism once you step in its zone. Many volunteers and Social entrepreneurship students (local and international) can be seen buzzing around who are speaking only one language “how we can help society”?

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We presented our story of ‘StudyMall ” in front of three judges Mrs. Neelam Maheshwari  Director Deshpande Foundation (http://www.deshpandefoundation.org/about-us/core-team/neelam-maheshwari/)  Mr. Sai Chandrashekar from Agastya International Foundation (http://www.agastya.org/ ) and Mr.Rangan Vardhan from Micrograam ( https://www.micrograam.com/.

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We presented our idea of StudyMall, how 3 StudyMall are helping approximately 1500  rural children to read, learn and play  in 3 villages of Maharashtra . The Judges presented us very thoughtful questions on sustainability and expansion. For the sustainability of StudyMall project ThinkSharp Foundation team answered that  we are dependent on donations from our donors and we always plan to keep StudyMall free of cost for rural children. This will ensure they use StudyMall to fullest to read, play or learn. Our answer to expansion plan  was that we will start 15 StudyMall in next 5 years. This pace of growth is decided to ensure we  help villages or rural areas which are actually in need and where the infrastructure in StudyMall will be used at maximum level by children.

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Mr. Sai From Agastya International Foundation was impressed with how StudyMall is helping rural parts of Maharashtra and offered partnership opportunity to work with them to reach more villages. This was a very proud moment to get an offer to partner during the presentation. Thinksharp Foundation team is in contact with Agastya international Foundation and is working on this partnership which will be a huge opening door to help education sector  in  rural parts of Maharashtra .

ThinkSharp Foundation StudyMall project was hugely appreciated by all the judges, NGO and participants. We also got insights and inputs from Mr.Naveen CEO of Deshpande Foundation on making StudyMall available and more beneficial for rural children.

This  opportunity gave us chance to meet Dr.Desh Sir to know about insight into how a social entrepreneur needs to think so as to find the best fit solution to solve society’s problems. Another best thing was to get insight into how Sandbox works. So many people are doing great job through NGO’S to tackle and help our society. But we all can succeed only when we help each other and work together.

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With this huge motivation and inspirational event we ThinkSharp Foundation team is geared up to take StudyMall to every needed village of Maharashtra. StudyMall is an more than Library project which provide books, games, toys, digital educational infrastructure, arts, crafts etc to rural children . StudyMall is an library kind of room that we set up independently in village or in collaboration with school.

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During the event we also had chance to meet and know about NGO’s who are doing tremendous job of helping society like  DATRI working in stem cell donation  ( http://datri.org/), Hopefortheharvest which is working in varied sectors to help oppressed and poor (http://hopefortheharvest.biz.ly/)  MOTHER working to create opportunities for the poor by building appropriate local-level institutions to improve help disadvantaged section and ensure sustainable livelihoods( http://www.motherngo.org/). For details about all such great NGO  please Visit Sandbox Website.

You can donate and support us too..

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate –http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

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“You don’t need time to help someone, you need kind Heart”

What is the most common reaction people give you, when you tell them about your NGO and work ? I have to know this and so I asked Santosh.

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With a chuckle Santosh said”Most common reaction would go like the one I had during one of friends get together a friend  casually mentioned to me ” Boss, you really got have a easy job and great boss, you can work on your NGO you must be so lucky to have this free time.”  What I didn’t tell him is that ” I am a regular guy like him with same target, appraisal and promotion pressure but what makes my life look easy is that I am happy because I know life is more than this and when I visit my NGO StudyMall project I see how my small efforts are helping village children like me everyday to read, learn and play.

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“We have all our worries and day to day job, but at the same time we have equal chance to go beyond this and be a bit more, a promotion is great from associate to manager but a promotion from being just  a person to being a helpful person for society is more appealing to me.” says Santosh and I totally agree.

Where did it all start, I mean from a busy regular job guy to a social entrepreneur ?

Santosh with a big smile said “Yes  i am computer Engg and MBA graduate, a regular guy working in Mumbai. I was  finding my way through and  despite being a very self confident person I used to struggle  with communication in English and was always being quizzed by people on my village and rural educational background. Whenever I faced this situation I used to wonder can I do something for rural children so  they  do not face same situation ? ”

Continuing his sentence with little pause Santosh adds “This idea got a boost when I visited my village during Diwali vacation. As I sipped hot cup of tea sitting under my good old tree chatting up with some of my village friends and some other elders from village, I saw the school across road in same poor infrastructure as it was 15 years back. The school had just finished and children were getting disbursed joyously . But what I saw was children did not go home but started going towards farm or they just came to the tree trying to entertain themselves by getting in communication of elderly and off course the tree was perfect place to do so. I asked few children and people around “why this children are not going home but wandering or going to farm or are here with us?”  One of the children a nine  Year enthusiastic boy replied ” we do not have anyone at home it is just 4 PM and we either go to farm to work or sit here”.

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I was speechless as I remembered this was what I was doing as a kid, but I was lucky enough that my parents realized that the village education was not enough and tried there best to shift me to town school, which either when I look back was not of standard in comparison to what we have in Mumbai.

This got me thinking what if they have a small place  to sit after school where we can read books, play games, talk and discuss children subject rather than being in elderly conversations around a tree, what if we can paint, draw, recite poems and what a lucky day it will be for village student to handle a computer?

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Being a working professional I knew importance of having legal documentation, and I knew if I want to do something for the village children I need to have registration for NGO.  So I started in 2011 by registering an NGO “Thinksharp Foundation”. No dream is complete without friends , off course I had my friends on board with me Sachin, Deepali and others supporting me as volunteers.

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One of my friend  Mr.Bhagwan Jadhav an professionally successful media person staying in Mumbai asked me  to start first StudyMall in his village Surangali, ThinkSharp Foundation “Studymall” was thus launched on 29 Sep 2013 at Surangali village after 2 years of struggle period of documentation, funding, marketing, visits etc.

Since then I along with ThinkSharp team have been happy to see our “StudyMall” helping everyday 1500  rural children on an average learning, and growing  in academic and non academic skills in 3 different villages.

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We have given rural children a better  place to sit after school or during school, books,art, crafts, games , electricity supply in power cut times through solar lamps, computer education and  a local volunteer as there mentor available for them.

I still have a long way to go beyond 3 villages, in Maharashtra state all benefits are more concentrated in and around Mumbai and Pune, Marathwada region is basically away from much needed help and my aim is to help every village in Marathwada alongwith other parts as needed.

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So what are few moments that made you feel proud of your “StudyMall”.  Santosh replied “There are many but this one stands out at this moment, On one of my visit one of the parents said to me ” I am so thankful to StudyMall that my younger son got a job by studying here, and i hope every child in this village find something like this from StudyMall.” And another one is when our volunteer Mr.Saurabh sent this cute little picture of handwritten note from our 3 StudyMall Vangani which says how much this child loves StudyMall.

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StudyMall has become more than a place or a library for this villages, it is their own mall where they go and use everything  related to their study free of cost.

 

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From an Management guy to a hero guy for this rural children an exceptional journey Santosh has chosen. StudyMall is an attempt by Santosh and his team of  normal people with their own problems and struggle but whats different is there beyond normal passion to  help rural children.

 

You can donate and support us too..

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate – https://milaap.org/campaigns/thinksharpfoundation-studymall

 

 

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StudyMall – Digital classroom for village vangani childern

What do you picture an second year engineering student studying in metro city like Mumbai? Attending classes, struggling with studies, keeping up peer pressure by attending movies, Whatsapp, Facebook,Instagram, showing his art in annual functions? Yes i thought too. But dimensions changed when we, ThinkSharp Foundation team met Saurabh.

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Saurabh Mangrule- dearest Dada for vangani children

Saurabh is an youngster who goes beyond only educating himself. He is educating 200  children by bringing better educational resources in their school at Z.P.School vangani village. But his social work is not limited to this but covers a lot of things like working for water shortage in drought areas , spreading social message via videos etc.

saurabh helping Vangani children at Digital StudyMall

Vangani is a village which is in close proximity to Mumbai, 1.5 hrs only and next to Badlapur station. So we expected this village to be hi-tech or developed than other remote villages.This was our team’s reaction when Mr.Saurabh Mangrule contacted us. We thought we help only remote villages which are actually in need of better rural education infrastructure.  Vangani might not be the correct place to start of our third StudyMall as it is so close to Mumbai.

But as its said motivation is contagious, Mr.Saurabh was very enthusiastic for starting StudyMall and he was very much sure that Vangani  children are very bright and in need of StudyMall. His mother is already helping  Vangani children by  being there loving teacher, and Saurbah has developed a close bond while visiting Vangani with his mother. He also wanted to help his mother and his little buddies by providing them in better education infrastructure.

Charged up with Saurabh’s  motivation, we decided to visit Vangani in August 2015 and we were greeted by shower of rain at Vangani village.  An equal amount of shower of enthusiasm from Z.P.School teachers and students awaited for us as we entered school premises.1

As soon as we entered school premises, we saw Saurabh was surrounded by all students and they were very much connected to him treating him like there big brother. Students were so bright they instantly connected to Thinksharp Foundation team as well.  A 6th standard young enthusiastic girl said to me “are you doctor, didi? i want to be doctor as well” .DSC_0448

Z.P school has 200 students from 1 to 7th standard and with 5 teachers and only 4 classroom. There is no library, sports material or any additional learning infrastructure.Teachers were passionate, students were bright.  But for  them to help each other more educational infrastructure was missing.

We decided within our team to help this amazing school. And thus began our journey of StudyMall our third project and first digital project at vangani village.But was this an easy journey ? Maybe not. Was this journey really helpful? Definitely yes as this is  helping 200 children of 1 to 7th std read, learn and play . They are  overall enjoy learning everyday.Was this journey possible because of us only? off course not without our supporters  especially Mr.Saurabh and YVO.

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We began our funding campaigns to raise funds to provide books, sports, arts and craft, digital projector, smartboard, e-tablets on BitGiving (https://www.bitgiving.com/), Milaap (https://milaap.org/)  and our own website in Sep 2015. As usual we constantly urged  through our Social media to our supporters and once again they responded to us. The best part was when Young volunteer organisation (YVO) http://www.yvorg.in/  committed to support us in Dec 2015. They committed us that they will be bearing 80% cost of our  StudyMall.

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In Dec 2015, this StudyMall was ready with digital projector with kind help of E-Prashala company (http://www.eprashala.com/). This projector  has 500 GB data which includes 1 to 7th standard syllabus, extra curricular syllabus including poems, stories, geographical,mathematical data etc. The smartboard  with it is interactive as well, geometrical figures, drawing etc can be taught on this board. Educational tablets from Classpad company (http://www.classpad.in/) were distrubted five in number as pilot project. This   has again interactive learning 1 to 7th std syllabus and many more added knowledge repositories .  And the most important part of our every StudyMall is Pratham books ( http://prathambooks.org/) . These  were added with 2 Library kits and having 500 books approx.  Voltas Company (http://www.voltas.com/)  provided us with Arts, crafts material through their CSR.

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To create awareness on opening of StudyMall  we conducted drawing competition on 22 Dec 2015. This was to  attract students to attend school. It also  motivated parents to send children to school as now more better infrastructure was available at school. This drawing competition prizes were  distributed on StudyMall opening day.

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On 9 Jan 2016 we gathered for StudyMall opening at Vangani village . Saurabh kept his word of helping Vangani village children by being there  responsible big brother.Many dignitaries graced this occasion like Mrs Meena Narula, a renowned educationist. Mr. Anand Chedda from YVO , Mr.Waghmare, Block education officer. Also our supporters who graced occasion despite their busy professional schedules like Dr.Fatima, Mr.shetty, Mr.Khanolkar, Mr.Jadhav, Durva, Saurabh’s enthusiastic and socially active young friends etc.

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What do you like best about StudyMall? I asked students after opening ceremony. Before i finished my question, answers came in chorus from children “projector where we can watch animated stories, e-tabs where we can learn maths, books which have funny stories of animals, drawing material” the answers were never ending.

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The best answer was which made us all smile was from a 4th std student “my teachers do not get throat pain now because they can play poems on projector and they no longer need to shout”.
DSC_1697“Madam lets take one picture in different pose, lets take selfie,  Boys are always taking pictures with saurabh dada and we do not get chance, so lets take all girls picture today” this was request in afternoon once girls of Vangani school got acquainted with us.

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We are seeing benefits of this StudyMall helping Vangani tremendously since 9 Jan 2016 continuously. Increased attendance, increased love for learning , increased spending time on study or learning activities at StudyMall etc.

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Launching StudyMall here is just the beginning, we are long way to better education resources here. We still need lot of support to  add more educational infrastructure.

You can donate and support us to help Vangani and many other villages too, our current campaign is for Chikatgaonvillage, Aurangabad donate now to help_click on this

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate – https://www.bitgiving.com/project/index/id/BIT469

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StudyMall 2- Possible due to a teacher who didn’t stop to help children after retirement…

It was 29 Sep 2013, a very important and busy day for team Thinksharp. After 2 years of planning, discussion and overcoming lot of hurdles we were finally able to start actually helping rural children by providing better rural education by launching first StudyMall at Surungali. To add to this excitement was presence of our supporters, friends and family  for this occasion.

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And among all this attendees we also had pleasure of having Mr.Chandrashekhar Awatare sir. One of our close friend and a close part of team Mr.Amol Awatare’s father. Mr.Awatare sir,  was appreciating  our work and said in his speech how youngsters like us are needed in every part of village. That was sure a motivation and boost for us. And on the same day he made promise to us that second StudyMall will be in his village Varagaon Dist Jalgaon.amols dad

Mr.Awatare sir was retired teacher at this point and he could be enjoying his retirement and having relax time in Mumbai with his son Amol. But he chose to stay back in varangaon where he worked as principal-teacher for 20 years. He is very well called as social activist in Varangaon being part of many social reforms and community helping projects.

Mr.Awatare sir kept his promise and invited us to Varangaon to pay visit and study how we can help Varangaon village children like we helped village  Surungali children. At first we were apprehensive because the school was huge and had private management. It also  had nursery to 12th std students a huge population.

Then we meet students who told us how there day starts with travelling to Varangaon for school from there small adjacent villages and then again returning back. They had library but they wanted more books, educational games and digital classroom.

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Class 8th girls were fascinated to meet Dr.shraddha, Thinksharp team volunteer. They were interested to know about how to be doctor and from there conversation went to  which is her favorite novel. They also shared that they do not have access to more wide range of novels or any other activities like hey wanted girls cricket.

Teachers also had same concerns, non availability of wider range of books, educational games, books for teachers to develop and widen their thoughts, a projector, desktops etc to make learning more attractive and easy.

With this feedback we were very much interested to start StudyMall at Varangaon. We had few questions in mind but  Mr. Awatare sir always answered our questions and was always ready to help us. He made his point very clear that Varangaon school children need StudyMall kind of infrastructure to grow and develop. We were inspired by his dedication and commitment towards helping his school  children.

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Finally we decided to go ahead with launch of StudyMall. Mr.Awatare sir’s energy was unmatchble, he was always there to collaborate and speed up things like  list of books needed, which school room to be used as StudyMall, then visiting school and talking to teachers, taking their feedback and then again informing us. We made list of things needed on first priority that we will provide and with help from  G.S.C school Varangaon   basic infrastructure will be added.

We decided to launch StudyMall on 9 July 2015. We reached Varangaon on 8 July 2015 with lot of enthusiasm and readiness to decorate, clean and arrange our StudyMall, our second project. Lot of time was spent on deciding which direction should the desk be facing, which ThinkSharp foundation frame to be put on which wall?

All this was helped by our kind teachers at Varangaon school too.During our arrangement of StudyMall preparation we had few shy children peeking in StudyMall room and some bold and cheerful students asking permission to come in and help us.

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Our energy was off course maintained by mouthwatering food and hospitality by Mr.Awatare sir’s and Mr.Mahajan sir’s family.

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After setting up StudyMall on 8 July 2015, we were geared up for 9 July 2015. Incidentally this was a school of Mr.Amol (our team mate) so we had a huge positive response from all teachers and students.

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On the day of launch we had huge crowd of students eagerly waiting to enter StudyMall. We had lot of motivational speeches and splendid inauguration ceremony. Then we entered StudyMall, children were in lot of hurry to grab books and have a look around along with all guest.

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This StudyMall has books, educational game, space to sit and study or read non academic books, few sports material.

Launching StudyMall here is just the beginning, we are long way to better education resources here. We still need lot of support to make it digital and add more educational infrastructure.

You can donate and support us to help Varangaon and many other villages too, our current campaign is at donate now to help_click on this

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Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate – https://www.bitgiving.com/project/index/id/BIT469

 

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It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

Preeti an 7th std standard student from village Surungali in 2013 told us “she wants to be astronaut” that amazed us. Because in a village of hardly any TV, Satellite, forget about internet but no desktops and 2 school at long distances with poor infrastructure her confidence and knowledge that she wants to be an astronaut. We asked her what she is doing for achieving to be astronaut, she said she goes to school but she does not know exactly how to be one? She spends her time after school looking after her younger brother and doing daily chores of house till her parents return from farm. She does not have place to study or read amazing stories of astronauts after school or in school, she does not  have access to internet to google “how to be a astronaut”. Surungali is a village  close to Aurangabad and native village of our creative head Mr. Bhagwan Jadhav.

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So we took up this challenge not just for Preeti but to help maximum children of Surungali who wander after school in village or farms and who do not have access to basic education infrastructure like a place to read, learn and play and have access to academic and non academic learning material. A place where they can read wonderful stories, do their homework, interact, play games etc. A place they can share and learn. We wanted them to give a place one stop solution for their educational need and we called it “StudyMall”- a educational mall, its more than a Library.

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After 6 months  of opening StudyMall, our StudyMall children Avinash told us on one of our visit, he cannot study after 6 PM because there is no electricity. The children urged donors and supporters through a video and we passed on this video message on our social media, and within a month we supplied them solar lamps.IMG-20140213-WA000

In our summer vacation visit children told us they want to play as they have vacations now, but they lack sports equipements. So  again with help of our supporters we added more sports and games.  It started with cricket competition but now they have one sports event every month.
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Then there came a visit where children became so trusting towards us they demanded desktop right away as we entered village, with bunch of flowers they grew in open space of our StudyMall they welcomed us and then immediately said unanimously “we want computer” and as again one of our supporter within 1.5 months sent us desktop which is children’s new friend now in StudyMall.

 

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Recently on our visit an elderly couple meet us and blessed us, we were not surprised as we are fortunate always to get blessings on our trips but we were curious. They told us there son used StudyMall to study for his entrance exam  and now is enrolled in a military job.

What started as just a small idea of providing place to read books has turned into  a place of trust, learning, development and growth which was impossible without our kind donors and supporters.

But there is still a long way to go we are yet to provide more books, desktops, e-learning, vocational training and so much more to surungali chidren.  And there are so many villages in need of  help where children are waiting to be doctors, lawyers, hi-tech farmers, sportsmen, soldiers and the list of dreams goes on.

We are happy and more motivated to work because seeing few of the results of StudyMall lbenefiting rural children like  in increasing grades, studytime, sports interest, awareness on career path extra curricular learning, personality development and playing sports has increased substantially.

Now we are gearing up for 4th StudyMall at Chikatgaon village, Aurangabad, support us on https://www.bitgiving.com/project/index/id/BIT469

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Because we believe when Children are strong a society is strong and “It is easy to build strong children but difficult to repair broken men”. We have easy chance to build strong children now.

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- http://m.indiatoday.in/story/read-play-learn-surangali-jalna-district/1/444148.html

Donate – https://www.bitgiving.com/project/index/id/BIT469

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