From a yoga instructor to the director of Sri Sri Narayana Vidyalayam, Indira Viswanadha’s mission of reaching out to weaker sections has seen new dimensions.
A decade ago, her journey of providing free education to the underprivileged groups began with just 20 children. Today, she caters to diverse educational needs of 400 students. Inspired by founder of The Art of Living Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, she feels one should go beyond his or her comfort zone to explore what real happiness is all about. “Initially, it was a tough task to groom these children in terms of language, dining etiquette and other disciplines. Since most of their parents are service providers like washermen, domestic workers and carpenters apart from the street vendors and slum dwellers, it took three years for us to discipline them in every possible manner. Today, I am more content with the fact that we brought change in their lives,” Indira says. While Indira’s husband V. Ramesh Kumar supports her in financial aspects, Prerna Trust, one of the wings of Larsen and Toubro, provides assistance in featuring extra classes like yoga, karate and music throughout the academic year.
Since most of the students belong to Ootagadda slum area, the real challenge for Indira lies in counselling the parents. “The monthly parent-teacher-meet helps in identifying the gaps of parenting. We talk to the parents and guide them to lead an amicable family life which is essential for the psychological health of the children,” she says. Unlike the existing commercial trend, teachers are not bothered about better prospects. “Though we are paid comparatively less, the pleasure that we derive by serving the needy is immeasurable. End of the day, your job satisfaction is what matters,” says Mayuri, Telugu teacher, who has been associated with the school since its inception. With an overpowering response from parents, students and the staff, the institution is all set to add Class X from the current academic year.