It was in 2006 that V K Mahadev Prasad finally opened Sukritham Girls Home, in Kozhikode, for girls from underprivileged families, where they can break away from the cycle of poverty-stricken lives — which their less-educated parents couldn’t do. “People speak about women empowerment with much vigour, but what I understand is that girls are raised with a lot of NOs and DON’Ts. So when they reach adulthood they are not confident in their capabilities,” says Mahadev. This dominant hypocrisy in society is one of the reasons why he started this Home.
Mahadev’s inclination towards social work began very early. He shares the incident that changed his view on society, “During my childhood the orphans used to beat drums and visit houses for clothes that they could use. While I had all the luxuries of a secure home and family, those kids had to go house to house, beating drums to have their needs met. This inequality really burst the bubble that I lived in,” he explains. Later, he started taking classes for children from various underprivileged communities while he was just a teenager.
Mahadev studied the culinary arts with a dream of travelling across the world, but he couldn’t make do with the career a ‘star hotel’ chef brought him. He explains, “I have cycled from one house to another collecting a fist full of rice grains from friends to meet ends at an anganwadi, and for me serving people who didn’t even care to finish a cup of tea was disturbing.” After setting aside his chef’s hat, Mahadev continued taking classes for the children back in his hometown, and there he came to realise the hardships a girl has to go through to break away from the cycle of poverty and empower herself.
Pledging his own property for money, he bought land for the Home and started his initiative to make a change in the lives of girls who dream of a better life. He started the Sukritham Charitable Trust with 15 other members, most of whom are his friends. The Home which started with just three girls, now accommodates 25 girls in the 5-18 age bracket, covering their all expenses till graduation. The very first residents are now a fashion designer, a sales executive and a law student. “Education and behaviour is our core necessity. I believe that with the right education and suitable guidance, women can bring a lot of change, starting in their own homes,” he explains.
Mahadev’s dream of constructing a building to house more children is in progress. Their first block, consisting of a large computer lab and library, is getting its final touches. “People think that I am an elderly person, as usually people tend to do social service after retiring or they ask me if I was a victim of trauma in my childhood. The truth is, the intoxicating feeling you get from doing genuine good for others is quite incomparable,” says Mahadev with a self-satisfactory laugh.
Reach Out : http://www.sukritham.org/