Mr. Ranganathan is the founder of Vidyarambam. In his previous avatar, he was an automobile engineer and travelled to various places to work. In 1982 he decided that he wanted to motivate and inspire learning in children who have little access to the joy of education. He says, “I took my sons for summer holidays to my village. They have an urban schooling and when they wanted to play with the village kids, none of the kids were ready to even talk. I don’t know why, but this scene kept coming forefront in my mind even after I left the village.”
Mr. Ranganathan did not make an immediate change in his career at that time. He continued to work for a few more years in the Middle East. Eventually in 2002 he returned to India with the goal of teaching and motivating learning in children in the most remote villages of Tamil Nadu. “My family was a little apprehensive in the beginning. They were not really ready with my decision to pack and leave in search of a village.”
Mr. Ranganathan identified his challenges as that of motivating children to want to learn and attend school as well as ensuring that families did not have to pay for this right to knowledge. He developed a learning center that catered to 17 students. He provided a salary for a teacher and gathered good learning material to inspire the children. The students developed a love for the learning center at times, over their regular school experience.
As other villages learned about the learning center, they began to request the same service. Mr. Ranganathan and friends came together to establish the non-profit organization Vidyarambam Trust. This trust has spread its resources and service to over 3,264 villages, over 4,797 study centers and reached over 7,29,450 rural children. The trust would like to continue to spread this gift of the joy of education to more rural schools and perhaps include the more urbans schools as well.