How Khushi Pandey Found Her Calling In Educating Underprivileged Children

Khushi Pandey
There are people who do everything in their power to make the world a better place and even if it means sacrificing a major part of their lives, they do it happily. 23-year-old Khushi Pandey is one such woman paving way for change in her capacity.

Khushi Pandey shares with SheThePeople why she chose to become a social worker and how educating underprivileged children and working on issues like menstrual hygiene and safety gives her purpose.

Khushi Pandey Journey

“I was 3 when mom and dad moved from the village to the city of Lucknow for the simplest reason of giving us a good education. Growing up I realised, there are many children who are deprived of primary education. I questioned myself ‘Khushi, will they ever get the same opportunity that you did?’ When I was in 12th standard, I started teaching underprivileged kids from nearby slums. Their parents didn’t mind as they were always away for work and these kids would usually play or run around on the streets. In a way, I was looking after the kids.

Gradually, they became a part of my life. I learnt about their problems, their daily struggles and a lot more. A young little girl came to me and asked ‘Didi, aapko sab kuch kaise aata hai?’ Her innocence made me wonder if my parents hadn’t given me and my brother access to the best education, we could be one of them. That day I made a promise to myself to continue working hard to improve the lives of all such children.

I reached out to my friends for help and in no time we had a small team. We opened up a small primary school with our little savings and support from our families. We started reaching out to the kids directly and asked them to enrol in our school. The kids begging at the traffic lights, kids selling goods, all of them. But there was a problem, these kids didn’t want to study. They said ‘Kyu jana hai school? Usse kya hoga?’ The solution was to bribe their innocence for the greater good. We told them that if they came to school and studied, we would give them food, new bags, and uniforms and they could play as much as they want. And it all started falling into place. We started getting more kids and young boys and girls who were interested in getting an education.

As we grew in number, we started reaching out for grants and sponsorships. The school became bigger. Challenges were still there but we sailed past it all. One small step can change the bigger picture.”

Interviewed by Bhavika Mittal, Team SheThePeople

Suggested reading: Why Iranian-American Shahla Ettefagh Moved To Rishikesh To Start A School For Underprivileged Kids