EDUCATION: 7 friends help over 2,000 village kids chase IIT dreams in West Bengal 

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(October 28, 2021) For kids in West Bengal’s villages and small towns, the Sayambharataa Rural Skill Development Foundation (SRDSF) has come as a beacon of hope. So far, the foundation, which was started by seven friends, has helped over 2,000 children find their way to some of India’s premier institutions like IIT and IISc for their higher studies. The Foundation tutors children from West Bengal’s Tantipara village and also provides them financial aid to chase their higher education dreams and provides them a shot at a better and brighter future. But there’s a clause… they must pay it forward. 

SRSDF was founded by Kolkata-based software engineer Subrata Bose along with his friends Sharbari Bhattacharya, Debjani Mitra, and Pradyut Bhattacharya while three others, Sandip Ghosh, Sushmita Bose, and Kalpana Dutta, joined in as active members.  

The idea for SDRSF came about when Subrata visited Tantipara as part of a social welfare project. It was around then that he came across a daily wager who requested him to donate some money for his son’s education and showed him the boy’s report card as proof of his stellar academic performance. Subrata decided to take this one step further and established a system where children from needy families would receive guidance from experts and find financial support… but on one condition: they had to pay it forward when they had managed to establish themselves. This could either be by donating money, offering teaching services to children in need or sponsoring a destitute child.  

In an interview, Subrata said, “Charity may not always be helpful and not everyone realises its value. When we did an informal survey, we found that 45% of students, especially girls, in the village dropout after Class 8. The first generational learners accept that they have to work as farm labourers and girls assume marriage is the finish line. We wanted to change this,” Subrata says. 

SRDSF allows anyone to join the core committee by getting involved in the planning and execution. So far, over 2,000 students from 12 villages have benefited from the Foundation’s work and many have found their way to IIT, IISc, and other prestigious educational institutions across the country. 

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