To create an environment that nurtures the wellbeing and holistic development of
underprivileged children residing in the informal settlements of the city.
History of Rakshak
Rakshak, which means ‘Protector’ in Sanskrit was founded by Jay and Anjali Kumar in 2004. While visiting Perungulathur, they happened to come across a lot of children playing on the street corners and not in school during the day. A quick survey revealed that most of those children were from an economically struggling community which lacked motivation and support and so they simply dropped out of school at the age of 13 or 14 and started doing odd jobs that did not require skilled labor. And thus the entire community stayed if not in absolute poverty, in poverty of education and economic growth and development. And thus the cycle of school dropouts, early marriages, unskilled low paying jobs and debts kept continuing from one generation to another and trapped them in the cycle and culture of poverty, whose propaganda is of surviving and not living or thriving. Rakshak thus came into being under a tree with 20 children and a small team spending time with those children and teaching them English hoping to rescue at least them from the cycle that their parents were stuck in. When their classes were over, the children were given a cup of Horlicks and two biscuits. Today, Rakshak has grown to have 110 children for whom classes are given in a building and after the classes the children are given a nutritious meal. Rakshak exists because we believe that children are the future of the nation and todays sowing is tomorrows reaping.
To Empower through Education
An old Tibetan proverb paints the picture of the state of countless children who are forced as a result of poverty to live in the squalors of overpopulated city settlements. The saying says that “A child without education is like a bird without wings”. How true that is! In a world that is competitive, ever changing, ever developing and fast paced, these children have had absolutely no chance to even fight for survival let alone development. Countless dreams have perished even before they had a chance to bud. Most of these children fail before they even had a chance to try. They fall into the cycle of poverty mainly because they lack proper education. To put an end to this evil, Rakshak seeks to empower the young minds by providing support, guidance and encouragement through education.
To Counter Malnutrition and Hunger
Poverty always brings with it, it’s ugly friend Hunger and hunger in turn brings with it, its nasty cousin Malnutrition. Hunger is a reality and a natural phenomenon for those who are underprivileged. Sadly, we find that it is the children who are worst hit by this evil. Vulnerable as they are already, many children don’t have a chance to survive their fight against malnutrition and hunger. Rakshak believes that hunger can be conquered just as Buzz Aldrin says, “If we can conquer space, we can conquer childhood hunger”. In an attempt to end hunger, many a times people tend to focus on ensuring that the children are provided with some kind of food. This is where Malnutrition gains ground and has many children as its slaves. We at Rakshak, believe in putting an end to both malnutrition and hunger by providing the children with a nutritious meal.
To Provide Psycho-social Support
Children coming from economically struggling communities don’t just deal with hunger, malnutrition and lack of education, but also with broken households, physical, verbal and sexual abuse and also abandonment and neglection by parents. To be loved and wanted, is every child’s deepest longing. And at Rakshak, we believe, that every child must have someone to turn to when they face chaos and that no child should go to bed knowing that he or she is fighting the world on their own. To achieve this we ensure that we look into each child’s problems to the best of our ability. We provide support emotionally as well as socially.