“I had my first stint with social service in Mumbai, working with the fishermen community there – it was then I realised that their kids never made it to school, as they were busy scaling fish and helping their parents.
There was so much talent and untapped potential in them, which the system had failed to utilise. Soon after graduation, I joined the Teach for India fellowship and continued my work with children – after my contract got over, I began Yein Udaan around six months ago,” says Vedika, who is a native of Chennai.
The dhobi ghat community was where she first set up base - to provide continuous training in academic, cultural, and sports activities, and work on the holistic development of underprivileged children. “We also partner with other groups and experts in the city, who come in and work with us – such as dancers, artists, theatre performers and so on. This gives the kids access to new worlds they have hitherto never experienced.” Apart from the help of volunteers for outreach programs, it’s a one-woman show now as Vedika handles all the operations single-handedly.
But she’s more than determined to keep going and build her team eventually. “We are registered as a service organisation, and are crowd-funded for our programs. The idea is to provide a safe space for every child in the community soon, and then work our way all over the city,” she concludes.