Shobha Murthy, founder and director of NGO Arambh, has been
flooded with offers from volunteers and donors. Arambh works
for the welfare of children in slums and municipal schools in
"We have received several calls from well-wishers and donors
all over Navi Mumbai. While several have volunteered to spend
time teaching the kids, others have donated clothes and toys,"
says an overwhelmed Murthy.
"Over Rs 10,000 in cash has also come in from various philanthropists
in India and abroad. Readers may not be aware that there are
over 500 child labourers in Navi Mumbai, largely due to unemployment
among adults. Hence, children are forced to work to earn for
family, leaving them no access to any education," adds
"With no access to proper nutrition, sponsoring a child's
education or paying a teacher's salary will make a world of
difference to these children and to society," she says.
Details of donations
. A Nerul family: Rs 10,000
. Ms Madhu, Vashi: Rs 2,000
. Surya Rao: Rs 2,100
. Venkateshwara: Free classes
What well-wishers say
A Nerul family "We were quite impressed with the work she
is doing. She is working at the grassroots level, imparting
education to street children. Such activities should be encouraged
and hence we extended our support."
Venkateshwara, resident of Vardhaman Palace, Sector 17, Vashi
"I was astonished by Shobha Murthy's work and have offered
to conduct Bhagwad Geeta classes for the children. The lady
deserves all the help and I will begin volunteering once the
kids' exams are over."
Nandini Sinha, director of Annual Giving, Milwaukee, US
"I haven't thought of extending any help. The story intrigued
me and I just wanted to congratulate her on the awesome job
she is doing with underprivileged kids. I will look her up on
my next trip home."
The original article who helped the NGO
Shobha Murthy aiming big
By: Rajendra Aklekar
March 12, 2004
Ask what made Shobha Murthy give up her comfortable job as a
chartered accountant with Lakme India to work with slum kids,
she says, "It's the feel good factor".
Shobha works in a shanty at the slum colony of Turbhe Store,
where she teaches street kids. She started her workshops by
the name Arambh that aim to educate slum kids.
In 1997, Shobha took up a job with CRY as an accounts executive,
but she found herself often on the field, interacting with kids.
Eventually, she volunteered to take up the job of teaching street
kids in the Turbhe Store area of Navi Mumbai. Murthy shifted
from Bandra to Vashi with her parents in 1997.
Asked about her experience of working at Turbhe Store, she says,
"When I started working in Turbhe, it was scary".
The locality has a notorious reputation.
A teacher of Arambh gives computer training to the children.
All kinds of anti-social elements hover around this place, making
it one of the unsafe places in Navi Mumbai. And for a single
woman like me, it was even more scary. She adds, "I had
never heard of Turbhe Store till I started working here. Today,
I have three workshops in Turbhe and 10 across the city. I
receive immense support from the women in the area".
"I started with street children and school dropouts by
teaching them the three Rs and the school syllabus as per individual
Then at the end of the academic year the children are sent for
exams to the municipal school. Slowly, I received a lot of support
and there are 1,200 kids in all branches of Arambh", she
The municipal schools give Shobha a list of their drop-outs
every year and she go to the child's home and make the parents
understand the importance of education, pursuing them to send
their kid to the workshops.
"Once the kid comes here, he does not want to go home.
We try and make learning fun for these kids by combining study
and play. The parents today know what I am doing is for the
welfare of their children and support me", she adds.
Today, Arambh has come a long way and has ten centers across
the city. Many women have volunteered to teach these children.
"I now have three computers and a library of donated books
at the Turbhe Store", she adds.
And from where does the money to run the workshops come? Shobha
says, "CRY has converted my work into a project and gives
me Rs 40,000 per month. But with 10 workshops, teachers' salaries,
rent of the shanties, the various bills, the money is just not
enough. In fact, I have drained all my PF and other savings
over this", she adds.
Shobha says that Arambh would not have been possible without
the support of her parents. "When they visited my workshop
at Turbhe stores after seven years, even they were impressed
with my work and shocked as to how could I work in such a place",
Arambh's 10 support centres
. Turbhe Store
. Hanuman Nagar slums, Turbhe
. Turbhe Naka (police station)
. Sawli village
. Koparkhairane Municipal School
. Bonkode Municipal School, Digha
. Juhu village
. Vashi village
'Shobha teacher makes learning fun for us'
Drop-out from the Turbhe Municipal Marathi School
Shobha convinced her parents to send her at the Turbhe store
workshop. Today, she is in Class 5 and does well in studies.
"Teacher makes learning fun for us. I come here everyday
and I don't want a holiday, says Shanta.
Daughter of construction migrant labourers, living along the
Sion-Panvel highway junction
Deprived of even basic education, Pooja's parents were also
convinced by Shobha and her team to send her to the Turbhe police
station workshop. "I come here every day and the teachers
tells us stories and teach us to read and write," says
Rajendra B. Aklekar
Senior Reporter, Mid-Day Metro
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