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Stories of change

Santoshi Maitri, 19 years

 “If Udaan was not there, I would have never been able to go to school.”

Vinay Giri, 20 years

“Udaan is helping me to realize my dream of becoming a computer engineer."

Malkawa Bomidi, 25 years

“Udaan nurtured me and gave me an identity of which I am very proud."


Malkawa today represents Udaan’s journey. She and her 5 siblings belong to our very first batch of 2004. Struggling with her academics, she failed to pass her grade X in 2006. Very demotivated, she wanted to drop -out, but the teachers at Udaan, ignited her fighting spirit and with concentrated efforts and mentoring she managed to clear her grade Xth in the second attempt. While she wanted to continue her education, there was pressure to supplement household income. Udaan helped her get a part - time job while she continued her education. Her experience and growth with Udaan convinced her that education is key to change for everyone and inspired her to enrol for a professional teaching course post grade XII.


While pursuing her diploma in Education, she was supported and mentored by teachers at Udaan that helped her pass  with distinction. She is now herself a teacher  at Udaan and giving back what she got from Udaan. But more than an Udaan teacher, she is a role model for all in the community who aspire to be like her.

Vinay Giri is the eldest son of Mr. & Mrs. Shambhu Giri who migrated from Bihar 15 years ago and reside in the slums of Phule Nagar. Vinay joined Udaan when he was in class VII at Tirandaz Village Municipality School. With the constant motivation, encouragement and guidance provided by teachers at Udaan, Vinay became a top student with big dreams. He scored 93% in the 2010 SSC board exams and, with the help of mentors from Udaan, completed his diploma in Computer Engineering from K J Somaiya College and is now pursuing a degree in Computer Engineering at Vivekanand Engineering College, Mumbai.


The scholarship received from Udaan has given him an opportunity to realise his dream. He volunteers at the Computer Centre over the weekends and believes that Udaan has really developed his skills and personality and it is because of Udaan that today he can have a long conversation in English. In Vinay’s words, ”If I had to describe Udaan in one word, I would say that it means life to me”.


19 year old, Santoshi Maitri lives with her parents in the construction workers' basti at Hiranandani Gardens in Powai. She had never been to school when she joined the Udaan project 10 years ago. A keen learner, Santoshi was enrolled at Tirandaz Municipal School and through her hard work, dedication and the support provided by teachers at Udaan, Santoshi soon blossomed into an all - round student. She excelled in academics and was always appreciated for her dancing skills when she performed regularly at our Annual Day functions.


In 2014, Santoshi passed her XIIth grade examination with 57% and has now received a scholarship to pursue a diploma in Education at Mahatma Gandhi Teacher Training College. One day Santoshi hopes to be a teacher and help many like her. An outstanding example of how education can change lives!

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