A young man has devoted his life to change the lives of underprivileged children in Amritsar. Now some Australian-Indian NRIs have joined hands with him to bring the change.
It was around 2010 when Ranbir Singh saw some young kids smoking and indulging in prohibited narcotics in a playground. The sight left the 20-year-young man disturbed and shocked. He wanted to do something to help these kids.
“I tried to talk to these kids out of drugs, but they took no heed. So I decided to work harder and started working with younger kids of the same area,” Singh told NRI Affairs.
A trained yoga practitioner, Ranbir Singh started teaching yoga and gymnastics to the kids who lived in the slums of Amritsar.
“I gathered 4-5 kids and started playing with them. That is how I started. But, in a month, we had more than 40 children joining our yoga sessions. Their parents also liked the idea and encouraged their kids. This encouraged my friends also, and they started volunteering with me,” Ranbir explains.
Soon, Ranbir and his friends had a big group of students eager to study and learn.
“We spoke to some local schools, and they agreed to take these kids as students with half the fee. So we raised some money and started sending the children to school. But in 2013, we noticed that the number of students was increasing rapidly and there were not enough schools to take these children.”
At this juncture, a formal arrangement was needed. So, these young men and women went to the leaders of the society and raised funds to start a school called Lotus Kindergarten.
“In 2014, we started our own school with the funds. This was a special school. We provided education, books, clothes, food, and everything else they needed to continue their studies. It’s been seven years, and our school continues to do that,” Ranbir shares with pride in his voice.
However, this journey has not been so easy. He says funds have always been an issue.
Ranbir said, “We never have enough funds. The task at hand is huge, and we have meagre resources. We had a tough time during the COVID pandemic. We could not pay rent. We had to bring facilities to the students’ homes to continue their education. That needed extra resources.”
Ranbir lost his father to COVID and had to take the family business over, leaving him with less time to spare for the school.
A group of Australian-Indians have now stepped forward and have raised funds in Australia to help the school. ‘Tere Liye’ is a group of Australia-based volunteers who help people in need in whatever way possible. This group of philanthropists have been raising money to help keep the school going and growing in the future.
Another Australia-based humanitarian group ‘Kutumb’ has also raise over INR 100,000 for the school. Founder of ‘Kutumb’, Raj Garg says even if one person gets help, it makes a difference.
“Humble request to all to keep helping and serving mankind in any form through this platform or any other or even individually. I can guarantee your little help can make a big difference to mankind as long as we keep moving forward. I feel satisfied when I help someone even a little bit,” says Mr Garg.
Ranbir acknowledges the help he has received from the group.
“We want to change lives. More hands join, the better. These kids need us, and I am not going to let them go back to that playground to do drugs,” he promises.