One Passion, Rise of a Great Nation – Nirmaan

Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country – John F Kennedy

The journey of Nirmaan began in 2005 as “My India”, founded by a group of motivated students, inspired by the principles and teachings of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the erstwhile president of India. They started an initiative of teaching the underprivileged, and providing them with access to the education that had been eluding them due to their misfortune of belonging to the economically lower strata of society. This group dared to pick up the gauntlet, and where the system of society failed, they stepped in to fulfil their moral obligation of bettering society. They strongly believe in leading this nation to realize its potential to take its rightful place among developed nations.

My India movement

The “My India” movement started with each of these students volunteering to spend one hour every day educating children from neighboring villages. Recounting an important event that was a turning point in Nirmaan’s history, Mayur, the founder, narrates, “During those initial days we realized that a child of one of the rickshaw pullers had not been attending classes for over a week. The team ventured into their village only to find that Kashiram Ka was confined to bed due to a spine injury forcing the girl child to quit school and join her mother in their struggle to make ends meet. It left a lasting impression on us, and forced us to introspect and acknowledge the disparity in society. We went back to the campus and decided that this movement would grow, resulting in more student volunteers joining us in Nirmaan”.

Activities of Nirmaan

Nirmaan now has chapters across 8 states. From a 10 student volunteer base, the organization has grown to over a thousand volunteers, and contributors from various walks of life —  technocrats, artists and entrepreneurs now participate in Nirmaan’s work. Nirmaan has touched over 3 lakh people from different social backgrounds and different walks of life through their seven major programs. These programs concentrate on two basic but very important areas — Education and Skill Development.

The major programs under the branch of education are the School Development Program (SDP), the Scholarship and Mentorship Program (SMP) and Vidya Help Line (VHL). Under the SDP program Nirmaan has adopted 68 schools across 8 states helping them to develop into modern schools. Nirmaan also provides career counselling and advice as part of Vidya Help Line, helping youngsters to choose the course or line of education that best serves their interest. Scholarship and Mentorship programs provide financial assistance to students coming from underprivileged backgrounds to pursue their studies.

Nirmaan runs four more programs under their Skill Development initiative — Youth Employment Program, Avanti, Yuva Disha and Sustainable Livelihood for Farmers, concentrated on providing skill development training to youth and empowering them to find better jobs and livelihoods. Yuva Disha is a helpline for women and youth helping them to find employment.

Fund raising for all the Nirmaan Initiatives has a well-designed and principled approach. As a registered NGO, Nirmaan has ensured that all transactions are transparent and the books are updated to allay any fears of discrepancies and instill confidence in the people who wish to be associated with the NGO to contribute towards a better society. Mayur has in fact told us that a good number of MNC’s are now working hand in hand with Nirmaan and are supporting their flagship programs as part of their Corporate Sustainability activities. For example IBM and Tech Mahindra support the Skill Development programs of Nirmaan.

Mayur signed off with some wise words for us, the young and the old about the ways we can bring about change in society, and in the way we can get associated with Nirmaan. Engineers, Entrepreneurs, and people from any walk of life who feel that they are financially well settled, and their situation gives them the luxury to afford some time and money for contributing to a greater cause, can associate with Nirmaan, adopt their Janmabhoomi (place of birth), help a school, the underprivileged and so on to bring about some change in society.

Truly it has been a remarkable journey and we feel proud to be associated with and to know an organization like Nirmaan and be inspired by them. We do hope that one day they will ignite a Billion Hearts with their service and realize their dream for India.