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Efforts bear fruit

Congratulations to our former Balbhavan student Girish who launched his new fruit business.

Girish started coming to our Sanjay Nagar Balbhavan slum school in his 4th standard. Fruit runs in his family as his father operated his own fruit business. However once his business was doing well, he started spending his earnings on drink and soon became addicted to alcohol. He started missing the fruit market which is only open until seven o'clock in the morning.

Despite the setbacks in his family, Girish successfully completed his 10th and 12th standard education. After 10th standard, Girish started working part-time in a coffee shop. More recently, following the lead of another former Balbhavan student, he decided to start his own business. His inspiration, Vikas from our Sanjay Nagar slum, started Sahara Services eight years ago, after completing his studies in hotel management. His cleaning service employed 20 youths working in our MIDC (industrial) area.

Girish’s VG Fresh Fruits business provides healthy and fresh organic fruits to Ahmednagar’s hospital patients, senior citizens and other people in need through a home delivery service. We were proud when Girish asked our team, Dr Girish Kulkarni, Bhushan Deshmukh and Hanif Shaikh to join Mr Shashank Mittal in inaugurating his new venture.

Snehalaya started our Balbhavan project in Sanjay Nagar in 2003. At the time 98% of the boys and girls in this area were suffering from issues such as poverty, exploitation, crime, inequality, lack of basic facilities, and addiction, and many were missing out on their education with 85% involved in child labour. Today, seven other slum schools have been established and we have 100% school attendance in all of the slums where we operate along with reduced crime, addictions and poverty along with improved health. We have many students like Girish and Vikas which shows that if you educate a child, you are also empowering a community.

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