Maitreyee Kumar had quit her corporate job that was well-paying in order to join the CRY Foundation to contribute to society in her own way. Little did she know that she will be dedicating the rest of her life to providing quality education to the kids in government schools. Now, after 20 years, Maitreyee Kumar is the founder of the non-profit organization “Dream School Foundation”.
She said that when she took a break from her job and joined CRY in 1995, it had become a full-time job for her. She was into volunteer management and was coordinating various programs at the national level. She and her friends realized that there was a lot to be done for government school kids in the area of quality education. Therefore, she quit CRY in 2015 and started Dream School Foundation. The aim of Dream School Foundation was simple and clear: she wanted to ensure that each and every child had the right to quality education.
Maitreyee and her team began several educational programs with this idea in mind. One of such programs is HeadStart. Maitreyee Kumar discovered, in her phase of working with school kids, that many kids faced a lot of difficulties in classes 8, 9, and 10. Maitreyee explained that either the fee at the high school level is too high or the children have to travel long distances to study in a different high school. The students need financial help and mentoring in such cases. Therefore, her team provides the students with information about the neighboring schools and the facilities available under the HeadStart program. The volunteers of the organization track the performances of the children in all three years, meanwhile.
Miatreyee explained that after class 10, the students avail of another program of the organization called Ten Plus. She said that once the first batch of students completed their class 10 final exams, they began thinking of ways to help them next. That was when they designed and launched the Ten Plus program. They provide financial resources and mentorship to tenth graders to choose their college/stream in which they want to study, under the Ten Plus program. Until now, around 4,000 students have benefitted from this program. These students get access to over 2,000 academic and non-academic books, an online repository of comprehensive academic reference material, and a computer center.
She said that the unique factor of the program is that they not only help the meritorious students but also those students who have scored average marks. Maitreyee says that there are many organizations that give scholarships to students who score the highest marks. However, all those students who score average or below-average marks do not get any financial support from anywhere. The students might be interested in studying even though they did not score good marks.
Her organization talks to such students and understand their interest in higher studies and support them in any way they can, specifically in getting admission into the college of their choice. They also provide them with career counseling, laptops, outbound programs, life skill sessions, workshops for parents, enrollment in professional course coaching, etc. Though they do not have regular donors per se for each child, they ensure that there is no interruption in their academic year. Currently, these programs are available for the students in Bengaluru, Maitreyee Kumar and her team wish to expand their program to other cities in Karnataka.