Breaking Barriers: How a Woman School Leader is Empowering Poor Students in Hyderabad

Breaking Barriers: How a Woman School Leader is Empowering Poor Students in Hyderabad

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Foundation Talent School

Roohi Sultana
Foundation Talent School, Hyderabad

Inspiration behind starting the school

Roohi Sultana always had a passion for teaching. Her father was a railway employee who had started a school in 1985 to serve the community. She grew up watching him work hard to provide education to children who could not afford it.

She followed his footsteps and became a teacher herself. She married an army officer and moved to Hyderabad, where she joined another school. But she soon realized that there was a huge gap between the quality of education available to the rich and the poor.

She decided to do something about it. In 2006, she founded Foundation Talent School with a vision to offer affordable and high-quality education to the underprivileged children. She wanted to give them a chance to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.

It was not easy for her. Her husband was away most of the time, serving the nation. She had to manage everything on her own: from hiring teachers, finding funds, setting up infrastructure, designing curriculum, to dealing with parents and authorities.

But she never gave up. Roohi Sultana poured her heart and soul into the school as she became a role model in the community. She treated every child as her own and inspired them with her love and care.

Today, Foundation Talent School is one of the best schools providing affordable education in Hyderabad. It has over 800 students from different backgrounds and communities. It has achieved remarkable results in academics, sports, arts, and social service.

Roohi Sultana is proud of her school and her students. She is grateful to her father for his legacy and her husband for his support. She is happy that she could make a difference in so many lives.

Also Read: From A Farmerworker’s Son To Becoming A Proud Edupreneur

Strong enough in a critical situation

This road to success wasn’t always a bed of roses. Roohi Sultana faced many obstacles and opposition from local leaders who did not want her to run the school. They accused her of being greedy and exploiting parents, and even filed a case against her in an attempt to shut down the school. However, Sultana was eventually able to explain that her school was not-for-profit and charged very low fees compared to other schools. She showed them the outstanding results of her students, who had passed board exams with flying colors, and convinced the leaders that her school was a boon for the community and deserved their support.

“I just wanted to give them a better life,” the school leader says, adding that even in the face of tragedy, she continued to work hard and improve her school. Her efforts paid off, and she overcame the challenges to finally gain permission to run the school.

Since then, her school has gone from strength to strength, increasing its student enrollment from 400 in the first year to 800 this year. With a 95% pass rate in SSC exams among all its students, it was recognized as one of the top schools among 500 similar ones.

Roohi Sultana is proud of her students, who have overcome their challenges and made their mark in society. Some have become engineers, doctors, police officers, teachers, artists, and more.

She feels fulfilled seeing them succeed in life and says, “My goal is to help underprivileged students and give them a better life than what their parents had for themselves.”

“I think I have done that,” she smiles.

School tie-up with Varthana for support

Roohi Sultana partnered with Varthana for her mission. Varthana  is a NBFC that provides financial support to low-cost private schools like hers. She is grateful to Varthana for believing in her vision and helping her achieve it.

With Varthana’s funding, she was able to transform her school’s infrastructure. She built new classrooms, furniture, and labs. She bought two computers for the students to learn digital skills. She made her school look more attractive for parents to trust their children to her.

She noticed a change in the parents’ attitude as well. Before, they used to complain about the school’s facilities and doubt its quality. But now, they were impressed by the school’s appearance and performance. They praised Roohi Sultana for her efforts and dedication. They also recommended her school to their friends and relatives.

She felt happy and satisfied seeing parents’ trust and appreciation. “Varthana has been a great partner for me. They have supported me in every step of my journey. They have provided me funds, training, resources, feedback, and encouragement. They have made me a better leader and teacher,” the school leader mentions.

But then came the pandemic. It disrupted everything. The school had to close down for months. The students had to stay at home without any access to online learning. They lost their interest and motivation in studies. They forgot what they had learned before.

They also developed bad habits like spending too much time on phones or watching TV. So, Varthana came to her rescue again. Their Unlock books helped students during the lockdown period. The books were designed to help them revise their previous concepts and learn new ones at their own pace. They also had fun activities and games that kept them engaged and entertained.

Dream big 

The School Leader now hopes to expand her school and reach out to more children who need her support. She wants to create a new branch that would focus on slow learners and provide them with remedial classes. “Some children have learning difficulties and require special attention and guidance. I want to help them overcome their challenges and achieve their goals.”

Roohi Sultana also wants to introduce computer classes, labs, and cameras into her classrooms. She wants her students to be equipped with the latest technology and skills that would prepare them for the future.

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