#AgeNoBar with Bharti Sanghvi

Just make a small start and put your heart into it…the rest, the universe will take care of.”

She taught at a primary school for 15 years. Post-retirement she often wondered what to do with her time! Her house helper's son needed tuitions but she couldn’t afford it. It was then when she decided that she would put her teaching skills into a noble cause. Today, she teaches children free of cost! They share the bonds of a family and the smile on their faces gives her the contentment that she always dreamt of having.

Her Story: “I was a primary school teacher for 15 years. I loved my job, but over time I realized that I was struggling to maintain the balance between work and home — so I decided to stop teaching professionally and look after the house and my 3 sons. When I was home, I would often wonder ‘what else could I do’? and the answer came knocking at my door! My house help at the time, was very upset because her son needed tuitions, but she couldn’t afford it — I jumped at the opportunity! I decided to tutor him myself and realized quickly that he had passed his earlier exams by ‘memorizing’ and didn’t understand how to apply anything. Along with teaching him, I taught him the importance of applying his knowledge — over time, he didn’t need to memorize anything, the answers came naturally to him! I was so inspired, I approached the help all around me — cleaners, cooks, vendors and asked them to send their children to me for tutoring — everyone was welcome — free of cost! These children came from extreme poverty — most of them lived in an 8x10 room with 10 other people — they wouldn’t even have a place to study. In my home, even if their class wasn’t going on, they could find a peaceful corner to read and do their homework. Alongside, I decided to teach them skills they can use in the real world — how to present themselves, to speak sharply and confidently and to always be courteous. At the end of every class, I would engage them in a conversation about their dreams; to help them realize their purpose. I still remember a young boy who wanted to be a tailor, just like his father but was worried because his father couldn’t make ends meet. Every day, we would have long chats about how he would do things differently, and how he was going to achieve his goal. Today, he’s 21, has his own shop and is expanding soon — he still comes to visit me every day and I can’t tell you how much satisfaction that gives me! So from that 1 student, I now have 30 students who all call me ‘Ba’. We’ve become like a family, and every year since the past 5 years, I take them all on a short trip somewhere within India, using my savings. They see, learn and laugh so much that believe me, every year I look forward to saving that money and spending it on them. Believe me, it doesn’t take a lot of money to make an impact — just make a small start and put your heart into it…the rest the universe will take care of.”    

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