Shiv Nadar often says that he is a product of education. Through his philanthropic arm, the founder and chairman of the $6.2 billion, 100,000 people-strong HCL Group is doing what he believes is closest to his heart—to build future leaders from rural India via free high quality school education.
A unique social experiment, under the direct supervision of his daughter Roshni, is presently underway at two schools in Bulandshahr and Sitapur in UP, that addresses social imbalances and envisions nurturing and creating leaders who would be the inspiration and role models for their families, communities and society at large. A ground report from the rural heartland
Dulhera is a dusty, nondescript village in Bulandshahr district, Uttar Pradesh, 72 km from the national capital and difficult to locate even on your smartphone’s mobile app. Given its remoteness, it’s hard to believe that a major educational initiative is underway in this West UP village that is shaping some of the brightest rural children into role models for their families, communities and society at large. VidyaGyan Leadership Academy, established by the Shiv Nadar Foundation, is not just another school for the underprivileged; it is home to around 800-odd creative minds who are being mentored and nurtured with a definite objective—to become ambassadors of the school and make changes in the communities they come from and drive a force multiplier impact of transformation.
“VidyaGyan is a truly radical concept,” says Shiv Nadar, founder and chairman—HCL, Shiv Nadar Foundation. “It is a social experiment in nurturing leadership from among highly gifted rural poor children in Uttar Pradesh. It provides them the finest mentoring and nurturing to give them the opportunity to become tomorrow’s leaders,” says the restless, passionate and a creative institution builder who also likes to quote Intel’s Andy Grove by stating “only the paranoid survive.”
The VidyaGyan schools, one of the flagship initiatives of the Shiv Nadar Foundation, provide free education to some of the brightest rural students, through teaching methodologies, academic vigour and world-class facilities which are at par with the country’s best schools. VidyaGyan currently has over 1,200 students at two schools in Bulandshahr and Sitapur in UP. Last week, the schools completed three years of successful operations to create future leaders from India’s rural heartland. The Shiv Nadar Foundation plans to build three VidyaGyan schools in Uttar Pradesh, which would finally have around 4,200 students.
“My father is a product of education. It is his