Based in Jaipur, India, Monica discovered this incredible school on one of her trips to our workshops and was so deeply moved, she immediately got involved. We talk to Jai Krishan Jajoo, founder of the Jagriti school, about how the foundation was set up and their goals for the future.

Tell us a bit about the Jagriti school, what you do and what your goals are?

We believe in the power of education and its ability to improve the lives of the children but also the families that they come from. The Jagriti school was set up after a major earthquake in the area. Thousands of people died and many were injured so we had to come together as a community to provide aid. It was at that moment that I realised the power of people coming together, and Jagriti was born. We now have 200 members and almost 1,400 volunteers! We provide free education to children from the slums. This is so important because in general, their household incomes will come from rag-picking, begging and child labour, so education is vital to give them a platform to progress.

And what are your goals?

Our goals are all about change and to bring change, we needed to work together which is why we set up a trust. Seven years ago, just 30 of the 320 children from the local slum had access to education. Now all 320 of the children do - and more! We also offer vocational training to the mothers and fathers of the children to aim to help entire families change their lives.

The trust runs many other initiatives to improve the lives of the underprivileged - we've come a long way but have a long way but have dreams of doing more!

Where are the schools based and how do you work with the community there?

Education is the foundation of any individual and every nation. We embarked on the journey of educating the underprivileged in 2011 with 40 children and one school. Today we run 15 schools in and around the slums (12 in Jaipur & 3 in Ajmer) where approximately 4,000 children (boys and girls!) are educated on a par with the best schools in the city. Our vision is to take this to more and more underprivileged children over the next couple of years and to make sure that our children lead a dignified life and contribute to the nation.

When did you first meet Monica? Can you tell us about it?

My close friend Manuj Goyal has been a real friend and mentor of Jagriti, he introduced Ms Monica Vinader to us.

It was the delightful morning of 12th March in 2019 when we met her. We were moved by her unconditional love towards our underprivileged children and so grateful for the contributions she has made.

Her energy and selfless altruism towards underprivileged kids is wonderful. It was a scorching hot day when we met but, despite that, she happily chose to walk from the school to the nearby slum, which has the most unhygienic conditions, and we could see the willingness & love towards the children in her eyes.

How has the Monica Vinader donation impacted the Jagriti school?

The donation from Monica was incredibly generous and so appreciated. Since then, there has been impeccable growth. It has helped us to provide support to 90 children across the year and goes towards things like their uniform, stationary, the salary of their teachers, their activities and so on. So it's had a huge impact!

Can you tell us about some key success stories that have come from the donation?

It is the overall development of our children which can be felt and seen by visiting them. It's amazing!

What is the best way people can get involved in helping the Jagriti school?

There are lots of ways! You can donate through our website, our social media pages ( Facebook, Instagram or Twitter) or even visiting! Seeing us is the best way really.

What is your biggest hope for the future?

The progress of our students and their smiles are our guiding force. For us, the moment of euphoria will be when we see our students thriving in their adult lives, seeing the progression for their own families and above all being happy. Our main aim is to give the children we work with happier lives.

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