Meena Nijhawan, wife of a retired army officer, could have spent a leisurely life in Noida but decided to shape futures. This 71-year-old resident of Noida decided to educate underprivileged children and has transformed close to thousand lives.
It began in 1995 when Meena was educating her domestic help Padma. One fine day, she came across four underprivileged children wandering on the streets around her home.Meena and Padma called those children and found out that they are illiterate. It affected her and she decided to teach the kids in need.
Her efforts started reflecting almost immediately and the four children started coming to her everyday for they liked to learn. Within a month, this news spread in her locality and Meena’s home became a learning spot for children of ragpickers, rickshaw-pullers and domestic helps. A few years later, social organisation Smile Foundation came in support of Meena’s initiative and launched a literacy mission to provide free, quality education to underprivileged under the banner of Sankalp Saksharta Samiti.
With support of several NGOs, Meena has transformed hundred of lives and continues to work hard towards forming a literate society.
In a country where approximately 55 percent of the population would not understand the Nelson Mandela’s famous quote, “Education is the most powerful weapon which one can use to change the world”, Meena’s initiative is laudable and admirable.