Rajkala P

Means to Dream

Rajkala and her organization -Sharana works hard for the betterment of under-privileged kids from Puducherry. She continues to educate children and help them dream of a better tomorrow.

Rajkala, born in the year 1969, started her developmental organisation called Sharana in the year 2000. Her natural urge to change the society was born while she did her graduation from Delhi and eventually became her major goal as she pursued her studies in rural development. After working for ten years in a social organisation, she realised that to be able to reach the people that touched her the most, she will have to start her own organisation. Sharana – an organisation that would reach out to the people in need in Puducherry.

Rajkala started her work in one of the slums in Puducherry and as her first project, she found sponsors that could help send the children from the slum to school. Children who worked as helpers in various shops and as house-help were identified, and she personally motivated the families to send their children to school. In a time when a few rupees and a meal would unburden the family of providing for a child, she convinced them that education was an important tool that the children need to progress in life. When she started, Rajkala found enough sponsors to help educate about 50 to 60 children.

Over the last seventeen years, at least 3000 children have been educated by Sharana, children who would have otherwise taken up small menial jobs to supplement their family income. Today some of these children have gone on to become doctors, engineers, software professionals and have even come back to Rajkala, wanting to support her work and sponsor a child themselves. That is the success of Sharana and Rajkala’s endeavour.

During these years, Rajkala also grew sensitive to young children, teenagers especially boys who went astray after dropping out of school. Family pressure and circumstances led these youths to become lorry cleaners or to while away their time doing nothing. In the year 2012, she started a vocational training institute that would train 10 youths every year in carpentry skills. She established a curriculum with theory and practical classes and since then 50 young men have graduated out of the vocational training centre and have got jobs in various industries earning a salary that they would not have dreamt of earlier. Through this programme, she has not only changed the lives and attitude of these youths but also their families and their neighbourhood. In the year 2013, Rajkala started a new programme called the seeds of change. Through this programme, she sensitised children of several villages and slums in and around Puducherry towards a cleaner and healthier environment.

Through sports and games, she developed a scientific way of educating these children in waste management and worked towards a cleaner and healthier environment. Children actually understood the real meaning of a 'Swachha' and 'Swastha' lifestyle. Today children who have been trained by this programme have even taught their parents and elders how to segregate waste and keep their village clean. Since 2014, Rajkala has also turned her attention to the street children of Puducherry who are abused both sexually and physically. Children who don’t have a home, children whose parents don’t want to take care of them any more, children who are a witness to violent family disputes and are deeply scarred, children who are sexually abused.

Sharana works today works closely with Child Line, Child Welfare Committee and The Legal Aid cell and Police of Puducherry to help rescue these children. Sharana has a day care centre where these children can drop in and everyday care, hygiene and food and also basic education is provided. There are about 70 children that access the day care centre and in the week ends there are 300 children that come to benefit from Sharana’s activities. Education, art therapy and other classes are held to help these children move away from the trauma that they face every day. Over these years Rajkala has worked incessantly towards educating thousands of children through various programmes, providing medical assistance by organizing dozens of medical camps and opening small health centres in villages, providing an alternative skill to school dropouts so that they can earn a decent living, working at grass root levels in teaching the children of villages and slums the real meaning of 'Swachha' and “Swastha Bharath” and also providing a haven and a safe environment for street and slum children – away from mental and physical abuse.

Rajkala still works towards these causes without any personal re numeration trying her best to provide a better life to the people of Puducherry and any help to her work will only help the children of Sharana and Puducherry. Her dream now is to build a day care centre where she would be able to welcome these children every day and provide them with an environment which can help them dream of a better tomorrow.

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