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Darpan Salutes

Light of Life: Uplifting the Lives of underprivileged children  

Mrinalani Sundar Darpan, 21 Jul, 2023
  • Light of Life: Uplifting the Lives of underprivileged children  

What if we lived in a world where no child was forced to drop out of school? Or what if we lived in a world where education was freely available to people from the underprivileged community? 

Here's a non-profit organization called Light of Life Trust that has directly touched the lives of many children and indirectly impacted hundreds of men and women, young and old, from low-income families in rural India over the last 13 years of its operations.

Started in 2002 by Villy Doctor, this organization was founded to break the generational cycle of poverty – one life at a time. Since then, Villy has dedicated herself to transforming the lives of underprivileged rural communities, particularly women and children, empowering them to live with dignity and self-respect. 

About the founder:

Villy Doctor, a remarkable educator, academician, psychologist, and therapist, is renowned as the visionary behind Light of Life Trust (LOLT) and Satyavati Spiritual Foundation. Additionally, she co-founded 'Ormax,' a prominent market research company presently ranked among the top three in India.

During her illustrious career, Villy Doctor was a distinguished senior lecturer at St. Xavier's College and a visiting faculty member at Nirmala Niketan, Mumbai. She also held the esteemed position of Head of the Psychology Department at Sophia College, Mumbai, for an impressive decade.

Driven by a profound fascination with human nature, Villy Doctor delved into consumer behaviour, eventually establishing Ormax Consultants in collaboration with her husband. After a decade of valuable contributions to Ormax, she transitioned her focus to studying meditation's role in alleviating stress and its therapeutic applications. In 2009, Villy Doctor founded the Satyavati Spiritual Foundation to benefit humanity and establish Satya Meditation & Healing centers worldwide. She has conducted numerous stress management and meditation programs at esteemed institutions such as Google Headquarters in San Francisco, AOL in New Jersey, the Tata Institute for Fundamental Research, BARC, and Infosys Technologies Ltd.

Project Anando

This program is divided into four programs - the first one being the Anando programme. While urban India offers many educational choices and opportunities for children to excel in their preferred fields, the scenario in rural areas paints a starkly contrasting picture. In these remote villages, many underprivileged children are deprived of even secondary education. Anando program aims to extend its reach to every child from marginalized communities and empower them to pursue their aspirations and dreams. Anando supports children who may be orphans, raised by a single parent, from tribal backgrounds, or facing neglect, and encourages them to complete their secondary education successfully. 

Then there is the Anando Plus Program which enables Anando children to pursue higher education or vocational training to get jobs in the organized sector or to become entrepreneurs. 

The third and one of the most popular programs is Anant Programme. How is it different? While we often believe that a conventional degree is the sole means to secure a livelihood. However, the organization challenges this notion by asserting that the applied arts hold equal importance and advocate for it. If a student possesses the gift of dance, music, or other performing arts, the program helps nurture that talent. Anant, a collaborative arts education program between Flowering Tree Inc, U.S., and Light of Life Trust, is dedicated to empowering Anando students to pursue careers in the performing arts. 

Finally, there is the Anando School Empowerment Programme (ASEP), started in 2012 to enhance and strengthen school teachers in interactive classroom processes and effective modes of parent-community interactions. The program leads to increased involvement and participation of all the critical stakeholders in the child's life to ensure they continue in school to complete at least their primary education.

The organization has several other empowering programs, such as the Livelihood Training Programme - where unemployed rural women and girls get trained in basic employable skills, which helps them procure jobs or start their businesses. It also runs Mobile Medical Units and Environmental Conservation Programme. 

 

 

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