Helping kids shine; Sada Venkat dedicates his youth to encourage underprivileged children

The upper primary and high school years are the most significant years for a child, as this is when they express their true talent and skills.
The premises where the camps are held
The premises where the camps are held

HYDERABAD: The upper primary and high school years are the most significant years for a child, as this is when they express their true talent and skills. But, for many children from poor financial backgrounds studying in government schools, their skills remain undiscovered due to the absence of a system that recognises or ignites talent.

This very thought had pushed Sada Venkat, a 44-year-old lawyer-turned-social worker, to dedicate his youth to encouraging underprivileged children to use their talent and skills, and make valuable contributions to the society. For this, he had started Gnana Saraswathi Foundation in 2008 and seven years later, in 2015, he established Sadhana Kuteer in the serene landscapes of Vinobha Nagar on the outskirts of Ibrahimpatnam.

Venkat has designed 12 events in the areas of sports, cultural activities and academics, where children can be imparted knowledge and skills, in addition to what they learn in school.

He has also been holding camps for each of the events on the five-acre premises which was allotted to him by the Bhoodan Board of the Vinobha Development Society. Every year, he selects students from 400 schools in the erstwhile Rangareddy district for each of the events. One of his successful camps is Lakshyam — a preparatory camp held for class X students 40 days before their final exams.

Without deviating from their syllabus, around 250-350 children are selected and groomed to not only appear for their board exams, but are also guided for their next level of education by qualified teachers and subject experts. The result: many students have been able to get into IIIT Basara and other prestigious institutions.

“As these children come from poor families and live in areas where they can’t really focus on their exams for different reasons, these camps help them direct their attention towards performing well, all under the guidance of teachers,” Venkat shares with Express.

On the sports front, the Kreeda camp is held for those interested in kabaddi and volleyball. It is a 90-day programme conducted in two-three spells across two years (during vacations and holidays). In another camp, Sadhana, children are trained in yoga, essay writing, elocution, singing and painting by volunteer experts. The proof of their skill is painted on the boulders at the camp. Selections for this are currently under way.

Saadri, the foundation’s women’s wing, has been holding ‘She’ programme, under which they train girls in self-defence, health and hygiene, apart from making them aware about sexual abuse, child trafficking and child rights.

The organisation plans to hold a physical science experiments camp for 180 boys and 180 girls of class VI-X every year. Comprising three levels of workshops, it aims at helping them get hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

But, ever since the pandemic broke out, the camps have been put on hold. However, this year, Venkat hopes that schools would be allowed to function as usual and students (especially those appearing for board exams) are allowed to attend his camps.

This Republic Day, the foundation will hold virtual competitions, for which government schools from four mandals in Rangareddy have been asked to select students for the Lakshyam camp.

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The New Indian Express