As a child growing up in rural India, Rajesh Kumar saw firsthand the limited opportunities available in his poverty-stricken environment.
He wanted more for his life, and he knew that education was the key, but access to education was not readily available to the caste to which his family of farmers belonged.
Kumar was given the opportunity to attend school and says it was a great blessing.
“I was allowed to sit on the back benches of classes,” Kumar said. “I walked 2 kilometers just to get to a light so that I could study at the end of the day.
“In India, people sacrifice everything to get an education.”
In 2001, Kumar came to the United States and today works as an engineer.
“I would be a different person without education,” he said.
Kumar wants children in his homeland to have the same opportunity.
“I want to see the cycle of poverty broken, and education is the way,” he said.
Two years ago, Kumar began working on a plan to build a school, Takshila Institute, just outside India’s capital, New Delhi. “It will offer world-class education to impoverished children,” he said.
The school will provide education from primary grades through secondary and also will include a vocational training center.
A nonprofit organization, Takshila Education Trust, oversees the school’s finances. The organization secured an area to construct the school when people of Village Abidpura donated 10 acres of land.
While Kumar continues to gather resources and to establish the school’s infrastructure, he is also aware of the different needs students have here.
Kumar and a team of 35 teachers have formed a collaboration to offer homework assistance and tutoring in science and math to high school students in Columbia, Richmond and Aiken County schools.
Just as Kumar seeks to help students here and in India, he has found a knowledgeable support base to help him with his goal of starting a school.
“We are available to assist him in the planning and development phase,” said David Piccolo, headmaster of Augusta Christian Schools.
Piccolo has experience establishing schools in Florida prior to coming to Augusta Christian.
Teachers who are interested in volunteering for the tutoring program may contact Rajesh Kumar at firstname.lastname@example.org.