In today’s article, we have Kunjal Sehgal a qualified Chartered Accountant who shares with us her journey of how she quit her corporate job to pursue her calling in life – Educating Street Kids.
Kunjal is the founder of Adhiyagya, an organization working to provide QUALITY EDUCATION to underprivileged children.
She says – because of these 2 words ‘CA’ I am trusted. She is proud that her CA qualification has been a catalyst in helping so many children and influencing so many others to do the same.
Here is her story.
Pursuing CA and Working in a Corporate
I cleared all my CA exams from ICAI India in the first attempt.
By default, I was expected to take up a corporate job and I did so. I was selected in Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd, (leading private bank in India) with a good salary and a good designation.
It made me all happy but I still felt something missing, I always knew in my heart – that this was not my calling in life.
I continued working for 2 years until my parent’s words started playing in my head:
- That knowledge is only a means to follow your passion and it should NEVER interfere with one’s life goals.
- I was always encouraged to study for the KNOWLEDGE, for the FREEDOM that comes with ‘EDUCATION’ and NOT to just become a doctor or an engineer.
Knowing the impact of education in my own life – where my qualification alone brought me respect and remuneration, reaffirmed my belief that ‘EDUCATION’ was the only way to bring about a constructive change.
Quitting My Corporate Job to Teach Underprivileged Kids
After working for a few years, I quit my job in 2015 and chased my passion ‘TO EDUCATE ‘.
I started Adhiyagya as an attempt to create opportunities for slum kids.
Since I had chosen Education as the cause that I wanted to work for, the first task was to understand what would interest the children and why would they come to another place to study after their school instead of spending that time to play.
Therefore I started drafting curriculums, thinking of fun & engaging games that would develop their interest.
The following points also needed a lot of consideration:
- The slum where I wanted to work
- The place where classes would be conducted (we have conducted classes in community halls, parking areas, open area outside garages etc)
- The children and the age group that we wanted to work with.
Adhiyagya Focuses on:
- Moral Values
Regular yoga classes are conducted every Sunday in the K&L pocket park to encourage children to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Over the last few years, the children have shown immense improvement in terms of studies as well as personality. When the children are exposed to opportunities, their talents shine through.
A lot of girls are now enrolled in the University of Delhi paving their way for a better future.
The initial challenge was to gain the trust of the children and their parents.
It is difficult to make someone believe that you are willing to do something for them without any returns or favours.
So building that trust was one of the first few challenges.
Dealing with the insecurities of their school/Tuition teachers was another challenge however with time we overcame that too.
Funding My Social Cause
Funding in the last 4 and half years has been done by me and my parents.
We have been lucky that at a few centres our well-wishers have provided us a place to conduct classes free of cost.
Some of the volunteers also come forward and contribute at the time of events.
Also, a lot of people come forward and get stationery and goodies for our children at the time of festivals, etc. However, apart from that, it has been self-funded.
Going forward we wish to start raising funds as we want to expand our activities and our team has been working on how to go about it.
Volunteering is all about passion and the willingness of an individual to work towards a cause hence it has to come from one’s self.
Word of mouth has been our best form of advertisement.
The other medium has been our social media pages, we put out the actual work that we do and that inspires people to become a part of this journey.
And it is heartwarming to see that some volunteers who joined us right at the start are still with us and taking up bigger roles in the organization.
We are very proud of the fact that Adhiyagya is a voluntary based organization where people from all fields and age groups come forward and devote their time to the betterment of the children.
What started as my individual journey in 2015 with just 12 kids in a nearby slum, has now become a cause impacting the lives of over 200 underprivileged children from 2 centers -Rajasthani Camp in Sarita Vihar and Sector 45 in Faridabad.
We have over 40 volunteers who help us immensely and where Adhiyagya is today, is because of its team of dedicated volunteers.
Do I still miss my Paycheck?
I love what I do. It is so fulfilling when my students show even the slightest of improvements. My CA Knowledge is still with me, it is not wasted.
The CA journey has taught me the value of hard work, patience, perseverance and a lot more! It is correctly said ‘KNOWLEDGE CAN NEVER BE A WASTE’.
The decision of quitting a monetary job and doing social work is very personal and is based on each individual’s circumstances.
However, at Adhiyagya we have team members and volunteers who have full-fledged jobs however are actively involved in all the activities and continue to work for the society along with their jobs.
If you are passionate about something you will be able to take out time for it.
Also, the first visit to an NGO is difficult however once you make that first visit you’ll keep going back, not for the difference that you are able to bring but for the satisfaction that you get.
I Believe if enough EDUCATED people start doing CONSTRUCTIVE SOCIAL WORK, the IMPACT could be TREMENDOUS.
I am INVITING all of you to be a part of Adhiyagya and SHARE your TIME, your KNOWLEDGE, your SUGGESTIONS so we could reach out to more kids and make this world an even better place.
Now It’s Your Turn!!!
Would you do something like Kunjal?
What are you doing to educate the underprivileged?
Any suggestions what we can do as a community?
Comment below and let us know.
To know more about Adhiyagya and to be a part of the journey impacting the lives of many children you could visit our website: www.adhiyagya.org / write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Kunjal Sehgal: 8587861167.
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