If you get an opportunity only because you know people at the top, it will not benefit you for long. It is only your credentials and zeal that will pave a better life for you. In such a rat race, there are not many who would think about helping the society develop. A breath of fresh air came when Garima Vishal, 28, gave priority to others rather than focussing on amassing wealth.
In general, graduates from institutes like IIM dream to settle for a job with a high salary, a job that will guarantee them a luxurious lifestyle. Fortunately, there are still people like Garima, who always think beyond personal goals of achieving more wealth and want to help the society. This is why she confidently refused to continue her corporate career with fat salary and perks, and started a unique school to teach poor children in Muzaffarpur.
Garima looks at imparting education to children as a way of changing the society. With Dejawoo School of Innovation, she wants to provide education to underprivileged students in her school, which is completely different from conventional education system of our country. The seeds of such a school were sown in her early life.
Garima’s father had a transferable job and hence Garima had to change schools whenever her father was transferred to a different city. She completed her schooling after hopping different schools of Bihar and Jharkhand. When she was growing up, women’s education was not given much importance, especially in the states where her father was posted. Still, she received enough encouragement from her family to continue her studies.
My father always encouraged my siblings and me to get a higher education because they understood its importance. I was the first female graduate hailing from Madhubani. My parents expected take I take up my own responsibilities. Over the time, I realized I can educate others and make them self-dependent. – Garima
Garima completed her STD 12 from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Patna, and then enrolled in the Manipal Institute of Technology for further studies. In the year 2011, she cracked the campus interview and was selected for Infosys, one of the leading software companies in India. Her career took the right turn and future looked bright. But Garima always wanted to be a teacher, one who can kindle some social changes. She was posted in Bhubaneswar in the beginning of her career which proved to be a milestone in her life. During this posting, she got the opportunity to rekindle her passion to become a teacher.
During a special conversation with KenFolios, Garima said –
While I was posted in Infosys, Bhubaneswar, one day, I was going somewhere in a shared auto. A Gujarati family was also travelling in the same auto. I noticed that the children were talking in fluent Hindi. I was curious to know how can Gujarati children in Bhubaneswar speak such good Hindi, instead of Gujrati. I asked them about their school and learned that they go to an Oriya-medium government school because they were affordable. I took the responsibility of teaching these children and this was the start of my journey as a teacher.
Garima began teaching these children from 7 am to 9 am. Gradually, the number of children started to grow, and soon it reached 30. It is commendable that during this period she sat for the CAT examination, secured a good rank, and was selected by IIM Lucknow. Before commencing her MBA, Garima got all the children enrolled in different schools. She did all the hard work of finding the right schools for them and bore all the expenditure-related to the process. She gave the responsibility of paying monthly school fees to the respective parents.
After completing her MBA course, Garima got selected in the campus interview. She got a job in an MNC called ZS. But she wanted to do something for the society that will have a positive impact on the future generations of the country. Garima recalls the days when she had to take some tough decisions.
I was in a very confused state and wondered about fulfilling my dream. My friend Abhay Nandan from engineering days, who is now my life partner, always inspired me to follow my heart. He knew that I have a keen interest in teaching and advised me to follow my dreams. He said this will give me complete satisfaction in life. I loved his suggestion and started thinking about it with my heart and mind. Then I also consulted with other friends and family members and finally started my destiny towards opening my own school.
The year 2014 proved to be the most eventful year for Garima. She got admission in IIM and also decided to establish a school with five of her friends. The main objective of the school will be to reform, the future of our country through education. When Garima bade goodbye to her lucrative job, her annual package was about Rs 20 lakh. But to her, the importance of a socially-responsible teacher cannot be compared with money.
After getting consent from all, she tried to open a school in Bihar and finally, she opened the school in Madipur of Muzaffarpur. The name of the school was given “Dejawoo School of Innovation”. Dejawoo is a French word that means feeling connected. So, the atmosphere of the school is made like home and it feels more of a playschool to its students. She started the school with only 10 students, but today there are 100 students enrolled at the school. Most of the students of the school are from an economically compromised background. She kept the fees of the school at bare minimum as her primary concern is not to earn money, but to provide quality education.
Garima works hard to make her school flawless as far as possible. She makes sure to train the teachers regularly for better education of the students. She has also explained to the parents of the children how they should take care of their children at home. What environment they should be given. Moreover, she gives special emphasis on the use of technology. Garima’s team also consisted of the doctors and engineers who want to do something for the society. They regularly visit the school to assess the health of children, counsel them and their parents.
For me, the school staff should not be people with a good degree, but people who have the passion to do something different. Teachers must be willing to offer motherly care to small children of the school. That is why I give priority to women in my school because such qualities come naturally to them – Garima.
Garima does not want women to waste their talent in homemaking, but should use them to get employment. In this unique school of Garima, children are encouraged to do things according to their interest, so that they can shape their career as per their wish in the future. The management degree of Garima came very handily for her while managing her school. She used her management skills to adopt the 360-degree development theory for the development of personality of the students.
Today, we need the younger generation of our society to think like Garima. We need them to contribute to the greater development of our society and enable their passion to make their livelihood.
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