My first question to Ms. Sanghamitra Bose, CEO and Founder of Sshrishti was,“Why the two S in Sshrishti?” She said, “While we were driving to get ourselves registered as an NGO, it suddenly hit me that they would ask for a name and I don’t have one! I kept on thinking and thinking and somehow the name ‘Srishti,’ which means ‘creation,’ struck my mind. Then I thought that this name is probably taken and I wanted something unique so I decided to add an extra S, hoping it might raise curiosity in people’s mind when they look at the title. It worked, many people have asked me this question.” Just like the appellation of this NGO, the story of how Sshrishti emerged is also very unique.
While working as a freelance writer, Ms. Bose used to notice children loitering around every day in her neighborhood. However, one little boy walking around with oversized shoes got her attention. Ms. Bose decided to converse with this little guy and found out that his name was Kalu, and he lived in a nearby slum with his parents and five other siblings. His father was the guard of the society. After realizing that Kalu has never attended school and observing the vulnerability on his face and his frivolous attitude towards education, Ms. Bose decided that she would educate this boy. After taking permission from his father, Kalu became Ms. Bose’s first student.
Ms. Bose describes Kalu as a “whizz kid at Maths.” He was able to solve mathematical equations before learning how to write numbers! As days and months went by, more students came along with Kalu to learn; and before she knew it, her living room was filled with 50 children. In order to help with teaching and to manage the growing number of children, two volunteers, Priya and Amitav, began working with Ms. Bose. Despite the great amount of effort children put in order to learn, fatigue and discouragement was transparent on their faces by as early as 10am. It did not take Ms. Bose much time to figure out the reason behind this behavior—lack of substantial nutrition. Breakfast, known to be the most important meal of the day, meant only a cup of tea with a biscuit, left over rice or nothing at all for these children. In order to increase their attention spans, Priya and Ms. Bose began buttering slices of bread and feeding the children while taking classes.
A year passed. Giving these children primary education became the purpose of Ms. Bose’s life. Therefore, she decided to move the classes outside of her house.
On December 12, 2003, Ms. Bose went to the Sub Registrar’s office at Mehrauli, deposited Rs. 2000 as trust fund money, the Trust Deed got registered and Sshrishti was officially born.