INDIA: This episode of Transcontinental Times’ 360-degrees Live Show is a heart-warming story of Ashok Deshmane who quit his job as a techie to help unfortunate children from his village build a life of their own by providing them education and basic care.
Ashok Deshmane had a rough childhood where obtaining three meals a day through farming was a big deal. He grew up in Parbhani — a quaint district located in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. The region suffers from drought, scarcity of water and unfertilised lands, so their livelihood was always at stake.
Deshmane yet managed to keep the candle burning, even funded his higher education. He completed his Masters in Computer Science from Dnyanopasak College in Parbhani. In 2012, he bagged a job at IT services company Wipro, and later shifted to Mphasis.
The birth and growth of Snehwan – A Ray of Hope
Years passed by, but the village had not progressed, they continued to suffer from poverty, inaccessibility to education and healthcare, dry spells, and farmer suicides. Deshmane knew something had to be done to improve the conditions of the village.
In 2015, Deshmane heard about the suicide of a 32-year-old farmer in Parbhani. The fateful incident triggered Deshmane to fix the dire situations of the Parbhani families.
Later in 2015, the 30-year-old went on to establish his NGO Snehwan, to educate and provide for the farmers’ children for free of cost. Today his organization based in Pune has adopted around 80 children, supporting them financially.
In the initial stages, Deshmane opted for a night shift in order to give time to the NGO – to conduct surveys across districts of Maharashtra, find out about farmer suicides in the regions and acknowledge the children who due to circumstances had to drop out of school.
After nine months of research and paperwork, Deshmane’s friend agreed to rent out his old four-bedroom house in Pune and he refurbished the house to accommodate as many underprivileged children as possible through the NGO.
With positive responses from children, in 2016, Ashok quit his job to dedicate all his time to this noble cause. Deshmane got these young children enrolled in nearby schools and served their basic needs like food, clothing and healthcare. Not only that, but soon he also started roping in extra-curricular activities for the children at the shelter with few volunteers.
In 2016, Deshmane got married to Archana, their visions saw shoulder to shoulder and they dreamed of magnifying their cause.
Archana has been cooking regular meals for the children at the shelter.
Two years later, with donations, they moved to a bigger place near Pune to accommodate more children. He also started a crowdsourcing campaign on Milaap.
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Deshmane grew out of difficult circumstances, he has had first-hand experience of the challenges of making ends meet with farming as a livelihood, be it doing odd jobs to provide for meals at home or funding his higher education. However, he channelised all of his experiences into making the experiences of other unfortunate children better with Snehwan.
Watch the whole interview: