Aug 08, 2023

A True Sitara – The Story Of Grit And Resilience

Swati Pakhare  

What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time.
~Dorothy Day

In a world of disparities, there are limited opportunities for many underprivileged children. This stands as a stark reminder of the urgent need for collective action. These children, born into circumstances beyond their control, face myriad challenges ranging from limited access to education and healthcare to the absence of basic human rights. However, the journey to uplift the world of underprivileged children begins with compassion, collaboration, and an unwavering commitment to secure a brighter future for the generations to come

The foundation of Empowerment in undoubtedly education. Education by far is the most potent tool for empowerment and by ensuring access to quality education, we can open doors to a world of possibilities. Educating underprivileged children equips them knowledge and skills, fosters creativity, critical thinking, thereby enabling these children to shape their destinies and contribute positively to society.

As a responsible citizen, it is imperative for the young managers to contribute to society’s well-being. By providing guidance, support, and role modelling, they can positively influence the lives of disadvantaged children. This in turn helps the managers balance, compassion, ethics and develop a balanced approach towards society.

Mentoring The Underprivileged

SPJIMR full-time PGDM programme students are encouraged to mentor school children from underprivileged backgrounds as part of a transformative experiential learning course – “Abhyudaya”. These school children are known as Sitara’s – the bright stars.

SPJIMR students visit their homes regularly to conduct mentoring sessions. This experience allows them to gain a first-hand exposure to the challenges of low-income neighbourhoods. In turn, participants understand the significance of sustainable business development.

Abhyudaya is an ongoing non-profit programme that educates 550+ Sitaras, offers them financial assistance, health and safety programmes, digital literacy programmes, and several holistic development activities. More than 50% of Sitara’s are girls.

SPJIMR’s SParc, is an annual series of talks which bring alive such tales of courage and heart.

SParc provided me a platform to showcase my story and enable others to learn from them. I am Swati Pakhare, an Abhyudaya Sitara.

Truly A Sitara – The Story of Grit and Resilience

I belong to a small village called Sanghvi near Pune. I am from a disadvantaged background, and yet I got the opportunity to study software engineering. I have had a successful career as a software engineer at Accenture, and now I am pursuing an MBA from a leading B-school in Mumbai. Not to brag, but this is a measure of my determination, spurred by Abhyudaya. My journey with Abhyudaya has been incredible, and this space is not enough to highlight all that I have achieved – both big and small, with its help.

All at Abhyudaya are proud to be a part of this amazing journey.

When The Stars Aligned…

Emerging from a traumatic childhood requires a resolve that very few can emerge from.

My abusive father was an albatross around my family’s neck. Eventually, my mother decided to part ways, and my brother and I were forced to live with our grandmother. After a point, my grandmother also decided to relocate to Mumbai, where our mother was living and working as a help for Lata Namgude, a terminally ill patient.

Lata Aunty was that guardian angel for us. Since she did not have any children of her own, she decided to take care of us. My brother and I started living with our mother, again. We went to school, and even excelled in academics.

In the year 2009, I was in the 7th standard, when I met the representatives of Abhyudaya. This was the the turning point in my life.

Abhyudaya’s Contribution In This Amazing Journey

As part of the experiential learning course, students from the top B-school in India, SPJIMR used to conduct mentoring sessions for such bright underprivileged school children.

These mentors became a significant part of my holistic development by providing me with all the possible resources such as finances, academic help, spoken English lectures, computer classes, yoga sessions and classical music sessions.

They helped me develop a well rounded personality by enhancing my artistic skills and academic and co-curricular pursuits, encouraged me to channelise my energies and focus on improving and doing better. I have developed the ability to adapt to the present and forget the past. I emerged from the deep morass, and today, I am highly optimistic about my future, and about being able to provide my family a better future.

What Do We Learn From This Inspiring Story?

Overcoming the challenges at each stage in life has been a remarkable journey for Swati. Excelling at academics despite handicaps and reaching a point where she can stand up with her head held high, she is now ready to embark on a journey to leapfrog her career.

SPJIMR’s Abhyudaya had been an integral part of her life in the journey. Swati is truly a shining “SITARA”.

Abhyudaya continues to help such Sitaras fulfil their potential and become financially independent. PGDM students are privileged and as a result develop an empathetic and socially aware outlook towards business and society. The need of the hour is to have managers who can who can handle business issues without compromising on social aspects.

The Abhyudaya initiative by SPJIMR continues to play a prominent role in building the stars of tomorrow, while also providing students in the PGDM programme a great chance to contribute meaningfully to society.

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