Story of the Youth who Left Delhi to Build School in Udaipur’s Villages

Rahul Dubey was mere 19-year-old when he graduated from the Delhi University and came down to Udaipur for a three-month internship. He says ‘I was always a bright child and used to get great grades in school and college and so proceeded with mathematics in my academics. But this wasn’t what I wanted to do in my life. Another reason why I came to Udaipur was to find out what I really love.’

In 2012, what started as a three-month-long unpaid internship at Kherwara, a tribal village in Udaipur district became a turning point in his life. From a city like Delhi to a village in Kherwada, this was the first time for Rahul when he was witnessing the life there including huts, cows, farming, along with the issues like scarcity of water and electricity.

During his internship, he was meant to teach basic subjects to the children of a government school. It was the first time when he came across the education system there where the teachers didn’t use to come to the school, a single teacher was assigned to attend 80 students at once, many children used to drop out, many never came to the school, poor infrastructure and facilities was a huge void and all these issues disappointed him. Maybe that’s what made him stay a little longer.

So just after three weeks, he decided to extend his stay for 3 more months. In this time period, he removed all those barriers which were stopping him to achieve what he wanted. He worked on the language barrier as the language ‘wagdi’ was spoken in the village, he stayed at the houses of the natives, understood the customs and culture there, got involved in their festivals and rituals and he says “the journey was so wonderful that today it has been 7 years since he has been in this village and it feels like it was just yesterday. However, so much has changed all this while. The organization, Alfa Educational Society, where I started as a mere volunteer has my guidance now as a CEO.”


This is how the school ‘Village Spirit Academy’ fell into place!

Back in the year 2013, Rahul went to Nepal for another internship of his where he saw the natives, as well as other interns from different parts of the world, renovating a very poor conditioned school made out of bamboo on a hilly area. It was a very difficult project but no one there was ready to quit. The interns, never bothered about other worldly inhibitions, gave in everything in the school. The entire episode seeded the idea of making his own school in Rahul’s mind.

This school was to be made on the land of Lokesh Kalal, Rahul’s friend and the founder of Alfa Educational Society, and on 1st July 2016, the school was officially registered. On the very first day, they received a total of 99 admissions from the village.

Rahul wanted to build a school which turns out to be an ideal space for the children to learn and study even in the harsh climatic conditions including the scorching summer and aggressive monsoons. There were several problems awaiting their journey ahead.

After a lot of struggle and research, they finally got in touch with the architects of Chennai who helped them take another step towards their dream. Another challenge was the funding for the school. Since Rahul didn’t want to take up corporate funding, he organized an online portal for crowdfunding and received great support from people all around the world gathering an amount of 6 lac rupees.

For several days Rahul burnt the midnight oil to build an eco-friendly school made with huge mud blocks that could sustain the harshness of the climatic conditions. And all his efforts paid off in the year when his school ‘village spirit academy’ finally took a shape. He says that they might not have luxurious facilities in their school like fancy speakers, massive playground, LCD, but the structure of the school is such that it is fire resistant, sound resistant, earthquake resistant, and also adapts to the climatic temperature very efficiently. Children are happy and satisfied studying here.

“When the school was in its building phase, the round structure of the school made villagers think that we were building a church and will tell the students to convert. But when it got completed and they saw that it was an ordinary school, they became decisive.” Rahul funnily says.

Republic day celebration | Before
Republic day celebration | After

How Did your Parents React to your Decision to Leave Delhi?

I belong to a very strong academic background. As every Indian parent would do, mine also wanted me to opt for secure and mainstream career options, and so apparently they were highly reluctant of my choices. During my internship period, which got unexpectedly extended, they were very concerned about where am I heading towards in my life, which clearly reflected in every phone call of theirs. They would tell me why I wanted to shift from a city to a village when everyone else was doing the opposite.

I remember them telling to continue my education and head for a master’s degree and so I enrolled in a college in Udaipur for Masters in Social Work, somewhere 100 km from my village. To attend college, I used to catch a bus at 5:30 in the morning and came to the village on the same bus by 7:30. Thereafter, I managed the school and NGO work and slept by 2:30 am and followed the same schedule every day.

One day I was traveling in the bus like any other day sitting on the ground of the bus when I received a call from the college. I heard someone saying that I had topped the University. When I communicated this to my mother, she would hardly believe that I even enrolled in a college and asked me to send the pictures of my fee receipts first.

It was actually the time which taught all of us, me to follow my dreams and them to understand my passion and let me do what I love.

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Vrikshabandhan- A bond beyond festivity

Why celebrate a festival the normal way when you can give it a whole new dimension? Vrikshabandhan by Pukaar was initiated with the tenet to create lasting bonds beyond festivity.
Social Media platforms were incorporated to receive plantation requests by the locals of Udaipur city. In this three day event, 50 volunteers went to different requested areas all around the city to plant 40+ species trees from Aravali that involved Mulberry, Moringa, Neem, kikar, Baheda, Kachnar, Karanj, Aam etc.
The endeavor did not just aim towards planting trees by volunteers but also made families partake to develop an emotional attachment. People vowed to take care of their trees like one would protect their sibling. And to take it to another level, some even gave their plants names like Varsha (rain) and Ritu (season) etc.
The number of tree plantation applications received by the Pukaar team was more than 500. Moreover, an ample number of organizations such as UdaipurBlog, MDS, Mercy league, Robin Hood Army etc. supported the event.
In Udaipur, around 200 trees were planted and safeguarded not just by tree guards but also by the ones responsible for their care. The event was made succesful from the combined efforts of more than 40 people from Udaipur who enrolled themselves to volunteer in it. Team of Pukaar at Banswara also celebrated the event in their city. It was delightful to see the response and involvement that people showed towards Vrikshabandhan. This was Pukaar’s way of connecting humans and trees with an indiscernible thread.
After the massive success of Vrikshabandhan, the citizens showed their love to mother nature by contributing volunterly as ‘VRIKSHDAN- Donate for Trees’ for Pukaar’s future endeavours.
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Robinhood Army becomes the padman of Udaipur – celebrates Women’s day

The whole city celebrated Women’s day with much enthusiasm and excitement. While restaurants and cafes came up with offers to invite girl gangs and women to hang out at their places, and shopping malls celebrating in a similar manner, Robinhood Army took this day as an opportunity to teach rural women and girls about female hygiene practices.

Robinhood Army Udaipur completed two wonderful years of unmatched efforts to eliminate hunger and educating children across town on March 6. They celebrated their second anniversary with different events planned over a span of 5 days.

About Robinhood Army:

Robinhood Army is a volunteer-based organization that works to serve surplus food from restaurants and other places to less fortunate sections of the society. Robinhood Army does not accept monetary contributions of any kind and only asks for your time and a passion to serve people. It is spread across 50+ cities and 12 different countries engaging almost 14,000 volunteers worldwide and have fed over 5 million people till date.

The Udaipur chapter is no less. Led by young and energetic turban-clad Mr. Chahat Arora, Robins (volunteers at Robinhood Army) in Udaipur have served food to nearly 2,00,000 needy people in these two years. Quite a big achievement, isn’t it?

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!

Here’s how Robins celebrated International Women’s Day:

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!

An awareness drive regarding female hygiene practices was organized by Phoenix Pads – Mr. Ishit Garg, Mr. Varun Narula and Mrs. Hiranya Singh and Robin Hood Army in the presence of a gynecologist Dr. Chitra Ji at Banjara Basti, Sector 6, Udaipur after which free distribution of sanitary napkins was conducted. These sanitary napkins will be provided free of cost over the period of next six months to these rural women and girls to educate and put good hygiene practices into a routine.

Robinhood Army becomes the padman of Udaipur - celebrates Women's day

In the afternoon event, a street play on the “difficulties faced by women every day” was organized by the Department of Social Science Works, JRN Rajasthan Vidyapeeth University, Udaipur and a talk on female hygiene practices and their role in society was delivered by the team of Phoenix Pads in the university campus.

Later in the evening, a first of its kind Open Mic session “PERIOD BREAKER” coupled with live music, stand-up comedy and other fun activities was conducted by Phoenix Pads in association with Robin Hood Army, Udaipur at Mic & Munch café where various speakers from Udaipur graced the event from all age groups and spoke openly about their experiences regarding menstruation and inspired everybody, it was a massive success by all standards.

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!

Other activities by Robinhood Army:

Not only this, Robins painted the town red over their anniversary week with a motley of events planned. March 4 saw Robins celebrating ‘Wise Wall Painting’ where they cleaned and painted a whole shelter with informative murals at Pratap Smarak, one of their food distribution clusters.

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!
Before and after picture of the shelter

March 5 was ‘The Bhukkad day’ where the very popular Bhukkad food truck served freshly prepared food directly from their truck and drove to several other clusters delivering mouth-watering food to children who otherwise cannot afford such luxuries of life. Really amazing!

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!

Anniversary day was a big hit with a grand party organized by OMG Food Court at RKay Mall where kids from the less fortunate sections of the society were driven in and danced to the tunes of latest Bollywood songs followed by games and tasty food. ‘The whole day became an unforgettable one for the kids as well as us’, says Mr. Chahat Arora.

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!

But they didn’t stop here, the next day, kids were brought for a tour of the City Palace coordinated by Robins and a boat ride at Lake Pichola thereafter. The children got a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of clicking pictures with Maharaj Kumar Lakshyaraj Singh Ji.

Here's how Robinhood Army celebrated International Women's Day!


Mahatma Gandhi very rightly said, ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others’.

God bless these Robins for taking out time out of their busy schedules and making efforts to serve these people. 

To join Robinhood Army, you can raise a request on their Facebook page or contact them at +91-9929996922, +91-8233735714, +91-9460731240.


A visit to Child Care Centers run by Vedanta Foundation and Hindustan Zinc Limited

A team of 35 person from various NGOs of Jhadol, Kotda block with their Bal Vadi workers under the leadership of Mr. C.R. Joy, Senior Program Coordinator ChildFund India, Jhadol Cluster visited the Child Care Centre run by Hindustan Zinc Limited and Vedanta Foundation on 10th Feb 2012. Ms Sushma Sharma, Head, CSR, Hindustan Zinc Limited, Zawar Mines welcomed the team at CCC Zawar Mata.
Zawar Mines | UdaipurBlog

She explained about the VBCP and CCC to the team members. Mr. Gulab Singh Sisodia of VBCP was also present with team and visited the ICDS Anganvadi of TIDI which is supported by Hindustan Zinc.
Mr. Joy said in speech that he has been working in rural areas, particularly Child activities but the way Vedanta Foundation and Hindustan Zinc Limited is doing work for the children of age between 30-60 months in rural areas is incomparable.

Zawar Mines | UdaipurBlog
As a member CWC, Udaipur, Mr. R.S. Dhakar explained about Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 and also Right to Education Rules 2010 and proposed vote of thanks on behalf of Children and staff of Vedanta Foundation.


Article and Pictures by: Mr. R.S. Dhakar