IT ALL started when a daughter of a house maid, Bobby, was curiously drawing some figures from a newspaper, while her mother was involved in household chores at Sheffi Tiwari’s house in Gurgaon, where the mother works. The maid’s daughter shocked Sheffi, who was studying in class IX at that time, with her skills, as she had drawn impressive designs on a paper for girls' dresses. Sheffi, a class X student of Amity International School, Sector 46, Gurgaon, was amazed by the talent of the 10-year-old Bobby, and discussed about it amongst her school friends, Gautam Gupta, Vathul M Balasubramanian and Angad Singh - all class XI students at present. Sheffi's story motivated them to do something for these poor kids, and the four students from Amity formed a care-for-community organisation Discover I to spot talent and give them the much-required training and platform to grow their skills.
The students [(In the picture from left to right: Vathul (15), Angad (16), Guatam (16), Sheffi (15)] have been travelling to various slum areas in Gurgaon to spot talent and work to enhance their skills they already posses. Though they belong to affluent families, they have no problems visiting such places. With their effort they have been able to bring in a total of around 50 students under their project till date.
Vathul, who is the creative head of the organisation says, “We wanted to be a different organisation”, hence they have not given so much of importance to academic upliftment. He later adds, “There are several other NGOs, which look after the academic side of poor students”.
Gautam Gupta, who loves to be with computers and is popularly known as the ‘geek’ in the group, teaches unprivilged children about computers. Sheffi trains them in dancing. Vathul deals in communication skills, and Angad is mainly responsible for the logistics. As these activities are normally carried out during the weekend, the students behind Discover I try to keep a fine balance between their academics and this project. When quizzed about how they manage to find time from their busy academic schedule, “When you want to do something, you create time for it”, replies Angad.
Vathul says there is a need for the group to expand, so all of them are on the lookout for volunteers, who could play an important role in the group. Vathul further says, “the more the people, the more ideas we will get”. But they are very keen to have volunteers of the same age group. They have not set long-term goals as of now and want to take things step by step.
It has just been six months since the organisation started, and the group has already become a household name in their school, with teachers and the principal putting in an extra effort to help these students achieve their goal. Their teachers have kept a huge box inside their staff room, which contains pencils, crayons, and various other stationary items. All these stationary items are collected for the project that their 'students' are pursuing. When a craft mela was organised in their school, the work of the poor students was put up, including decorative diyas, all of it was sold out. The money collected is under the name of Discover I, and is used to help the poor but skilled as and when they require it. Discover I has been encouraged to hold more such activities to generate more resources.
For their project to be successful the group of four students needs resources. So, they are looking for support from various NGOs. They are in talks with an NGO, AID Gurgaon to work under their umbrella. Angad says, “As we are not registered as an NGO, a registered NGO could help us in getting legal donations”. Officially, their organisation cannot be called an NGO, as the board of directors should have their name enrolled in the voter’s list.
At an age, where teens are keen on making new friends, playing video games, ride fast bikes, roam around with their girl/boyfriends, these bunch of kids have greater target on their minds. They are keen in working towards the development of the society. It is truly a commendable effort by the students.
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