My name is Vashni and I am in class X. I joined Project Why in class VI. I belong to a very traditional family where education for girls is thought to be important. My parents never pushed me so I never studied hard. My marks were low and I did not know much. When Project Why opened, my parents enrolled my siblings but never bothered about it. They had given up on me. 

When the Project Why teachers came to know about me, they asked me to come and coaxed me to join class. From the very first day they encouraged me and never mentioned my shortcomings. They built my confidence and soon I started taking interest in subjects I had never done well in.

Over time my grades began to improve in school and that motivated me to do better. Today my grades are good and I feel confident about my future. Even my parents see the change in me and appreciate it. I want to finish school and study further. If Project Why had not been around I would have dropped out of school and believed that I was a bad student.

It is not merely a football programme, not merely an optometrist programme, not merely a blindness programme – it is about creating girl role models en masse at the grassroots level

Mritunjay Tiwari, Project Head & Trustee, Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital


I came to AJEH when I was just 11 years old. I was desperate to play football and leave my village. I live in a small mud hut with my mother, father, sister and two brothers. I joined when I was studying 6th standard. My village had a meeting to decide if I should join AJEH to change my life around. Studying at a government school is very hard. There were 140-150 children in one class to one teacher and their English is not good. If I had stayed there I would not have got this opportunity. I would have been married by now, 17 years.

When I go back to my village the others teased me at first saying that I should not cut my hair, play football or wear shorts, no one will marry me. But now they accept me for who I am. I have the support of AJEH. My village is just 13 km from here so I am very much in touch with my family and they are so happy that I have the chance to make something of myself.

I am a very good footballer; I play for the nationals for India. But now I want to study, I want to get a job as an optometrist. I want to work, I want to help my younger brothers go for further studying, my family is poor so I want to help them.


Bahir is a 17-year-old boy from Amravati, Maharashtra. His mother deserted the family many years ago and his father was alcoholic and abusive towards him. In the absence of parental supervision and support he dropped out of school and worked for a few years under a mason to help support his grandmother with the family finances. After a particularly bad beating from his father, he left home, heading to Mumbai in search of work. Taking shelter at a bus stop one night, he was woken by police men mistaking him as a friend of some men caught taking drugs nearby.

Bahir came to DSIS as an angry and frustrated young man, clearly affected by parental neglect and a dysfunctional environment. Since receiving counselling and support from the project, B has taken up welding as his specific interest and has received advice about the significance of vocational training for pursuing welding as a career. Bahir understands that without a family, he is responsible for himself and must stay in the company of good friends in order to make the most of his future. He looks forward to achieving his ambition of becoming a welder.


My name is Radha. I am 14 years old. My parents are cleaning staff in 2 factories. Sometimes due to financial problems, I also have to work in factories. I did go to school once and loved studying but my parents could not afford to educate me further. We are migrants from Uttar Pradesh and live in a rented space. My parents leave early so I am the one who gets my 3 younger siblings ready for school and go to the factory to work. On the way is Project Why. My parents and I decided to stop by one day as my mother wanted to find a safe place for me to spend the day as she was scared to leave me alone. Project Why teachers not only agreed but seeing my interest in education decided to help me prepare for class X through the open school. Now I spend the whole day at Project Why studying. 

Project Why has made my dream come true

Radha, student at Project Why

The children have very few role models but I am there for them. I feel like I made a difference to someone’s life.

Mamta, clinical psychologist, DSIS