How One Man Is Transforming Lives Through Education For The Underprivileged In Thane

How One Man Is Transforming Lives Through Education For The Underprivileged In Thane

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Our Lady of Vailankanni School and Jr College, Naigaon, Thane

Melwyn Sequeira, Our Lady of Vailankanni School and Jr College, Naigaon, Thane

Background

Most people have high dreams and aspirations, but for a majority, dreams remain immobilized under the shadows of nurturing their families. This was the situation Melwyn Sequeira faced when he dreamt of becoming a commercial pilot. He had to switch from regular schooling to distance learning because he was working as a computer teacher and taking tuition at the same time. Despite the challenges, Melwyn started tutoring two to three children in 2003, and by 2013, his coaching class had grown to accommodate 560 students. He provided coaching to students from pre-primary to 12th standard along with the help of a couple of teachers. Gradually, his coaching class became one of the largest in the Naigaon region. Remarkably, Melwyn managed to maintain his own studies and even earned his B.Ed Degree while pursuing his teaching and coaching endeavours.

Our Lady of Vailankanni School and Jr College, Naigaon, Thane

Inspiration

Melwyn decided to open a school because of his experience as a teacher and his realization of the shortcomings of the education system in rural areas. However, the main reason he started the school was because he went through a difficult time as a child, with nobody to guide or listen to him. This experience made him want to be a source of emotional support for students and be there for those who dream of a better future. Thus, he created a place where students could find solace, encouragement, and the necessary guidance to shape their own destinies. He wanted to be the person he wished he had when he was growing up.

How school started

In 2010, Melwyn registered and started Our Lady of Vailankanni School and Jr College with just 24 students and since then they’ve expanded to a family of over 2200+ students. The school started with pre-primary classes in nearby premises, but it has since grown and transformed into a comprehensive institution offering education up to the 12th standard. It’s amazing to see how the schools have evolved and now provide everything students need to learn and succeed in their studies. They are fully prepared to support and guide students throughout their academic journey.

Challenges

Melwyn’s journey of starting and expanding the school was filled with numerous challenges, from dealing with community paperwork to developing infrastructure. Looking back on his journey, he shares, “I’ve never been focused on making money. Even now, my main priority is education and how it can serve and uplift others. Money, in my view, is a by-product.”

“We are dedicated to providing quality education that meets the expectations of both students and parents,” Melwyn asserts. 

Furthermore, Melwyn recognizes that by meeting parents’ expectations, the school can foster a stronger sense of engagement between families and the school. “Parents are akin to family, as they trust their children in our care for 12 to 15 years,” he acknowledges, saying that the active role parents play in their children’s education benefits everybody. “Education is not just for the children; it also benefits the mothers who entrust their children to us.”

“To make sure we can talk and work well with parents, we employ various methods, such as engaging activities and the use of school apps. Moreover, we appreciate the valuable input and ideas shared by eager parents.”

“We value their insightful suggestions as they feel really happy when they see their children making progress every day.” 

Melwyn sees school as more than just a job. He feels a deep connection to its purpose and wants to help as many children as possible. He claims that most of his students are adapted to the self-mode of studying. The school has also created an online learning system and app that eliminates the need for extra tutoring. Taking into the growing demand for their parent’s needs, he has started ICSE School with over 500 students. Since he is a visionary, he plans to incorporate the National Education Policy (NEP) and introduce future-ready courses like coding and other vocational training.

He also emphasizes, “We believe in educating students’ hearts, not just their minds. Our school focuses on teaching social and emotional skills, as well as promoting ethical behaviour among students.”

Also Read: One School Leader Is Providing Quality Education & Best Facilities At Affordable Fees In Wardha

Proud moment

Melwyn had always envisioned having a huge and spacious campus for the school. This year, they were able to fulfill their dream by leasing a 55000 sq ft plot for 30 years. “I believe every child deserves a great education,” Melwyn exclaims, his face beaming with pride, “And we have made it easier for parents from lower socio-economic backgrounds to access high-quality education.”

Relationship with Varthana

In light of the growing needs of the school, Melwyn was glad to have approached Varthana for an additional loan. “I cannot express enough gratitude towards Varthana for making the process stress-free and ensuring that schools like ours received the complete support we required,” he says, importantly. During this challenging time, Varthana provided Covid express loans to Melwyn, which proved to be a great help. The seamless and prompt service allowed the Our Lady of Vailankanni School and Jr College to borrow funds on four or five occasions, easing their financial burdens significantly.

Melwyn also shares, “During Covid, we made use of a school management app to monitor activities, collect fees, and establish a virtual learning environment. Our teachers also supported us by working for half pay.”

“When classes resumed, we assessed the students’ progress and developed a bridge program for them. This program was implemented alongside their regular curriculum, helping them catch up to their current learning level.”

With the financial backing from Varthana, Melwyn and his team directed the funds towards developing the new school building and other important setups. He further extended his appreciation to Varthana for introducing them to the exceptional K-Yan projector. This innovative tool has greatly benefited them, particularly in facilitating smart classroom learning.

Read: How Schools Can Empower Students and Staff to End Violence in Classroom?

Vision

School leaders must always strive for a visionary approach, despite the fact that the current educational system may encounter several difficulties due to unfavorable conditions. Melwyn, in line with this mindset, has set specific objectives for his school. He aims to further increase enrollment and ensure that a maximum number of children, especially those lacking access to quality infrastructure and facilities, receive a quality education. He also wishes to extend support for students at graduation and post-graduation levels.

“Life is all about achieving and giving, and if we understand this, life becomes easier and more peaceful,” he wisely reflects. These profound words remind us of the importance of both personal accomplishments and making a positive impact on others. Melwyn’s dedication to his school and his vision for the future exemplify the spirit of a true educational leader, and his efforts inspire us to strive for excellence and contribute to the betterment of society through education.

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