Dr. Kamini Rao's Master Class
In this exclusive session of Dr. Kamini Rao’s Master Class meet Bhagya Rangachar, Founder CEO of CLT India and the President of the CLT International Foundation Inc. She founded CLT in 1997, which is now known as CLT India, headquartered in Jakkur, Bengaluru. With the concept of feeding the children in the neighbouring school, her idea gradually moved to provide quality education and technology combined for the underprivileged. Let us know more about her extraordinary journey and her brainchild CLT India in this episode.
Coming from a modest background, Bhagya was born to Ramaswamy Iyengar in a family of eight children in Gorur, Hassan. She was the eldest of the eight siblings, Captain G.R. Gopinath, aviation business magnate and founder of Air Deccan, being the second child. She is also the great-niece of Kannada poet Gorur Ramaswamy Iyengar.
“I’m a wannabe poet and I have dabbled in poetry writing.”
Little did we know about this hidden talent of Bhagya. After completion of her graduation in Physics and Chemistry from the University of Mysore, she married World Bank Consultant and economist, Mr. Rangachar. She worked as a software professional for more than 12 years in several companies. Besides she also worked as a volunteer, mentor and executive director for two years for the visually handicapped.
“All my children have been extremely supportive. You cannot do it unless someone is supportive of your work.”
The inception of Children’s Lovecastles Trust
Born in 1997, the Children’s Lovecastles Trust (now CLT) was an idea envisaged by Bhagya Rangachar.
“I came here not knowing I was going to set up this trust.”
After moving back to India in 1997, she never decided to stay here, but the future had different plans. Bhagya would often watch the construction workers children from her apartment window, building castles out of the mud.
“Children have this innate desire to build castles, whether rich or poor.”
At an age they should be studying in school, these children accompanied their parents to the construction sites. This sight disturbed socially concerned Bhagya. She initiated the plan by feeding 250 children in a school under the mid-day meal, which was later undertaken by the Government of Karnataka officially. It’s been 22 years since the beginning, ever since there was no looking back for Bhagya and her team. They were determined to provide quality education for underprivileged children. Just the love and empathy for these kids and their aspirations were enough for Bhagya to keep her going. She states: “What is it that I could do as an individual?”
“The power of technology for me is that I’ve been able to connect to them.”
CLT India has been a recipient of the USAID FICCI Millennium Alliance Award twice in 2013 and 2020 for low-cost innovation models and early grade learning resources. She elaborates on these resource building models, which are available in the local language. These contents can be accessed, even without the internet; no expensive gadget required. Other models for distance education include the CD and DVD.
“Through E-Patashale I want to get an improved learning experience for each child.”
Availability of appropriate learning materials has always remained a challenge for schools in remote locations. The audio-visual models in E- Patashale is not only interesting; but an inclusive model with localised, simple and accessible material which covers the STEM (Science, Technology, English and Mathematics) topics effortlessly. The E-Patashale program launched in 2006 was a scaleable and replicable model and currently supports around 4200 Government schools in the education space. What more do we need to make these virtual classrooms a reality and restore learning in this unprecedented situation?
“We’ve also learnt from the failures of our own and other people.”
Working in the non-glamorous sector may present several opportunities but has its own set of obstacles. Arranging funds and resources for longer periods in such organisations has always been a problem. Though recognised internationally now, CLT faced these issues like any other NGO.
“We didn’t have any office for the first 4 years, we didn’t have any paid staff.”
“I think you should just go with your heart. Put all your soul in it and then let it just grow from your passion.”
Watch this interesting session of Bhagya Rangachar with Dr Kamini Rao in her Master Class where they further discuss the platform which can be shared, revived and added. She has an important message for the viewers, so watch this episode now!
With the first few chapters, we have seen some legendary speakers like Dr Ferzaan Engineer, Co-founder and Chairman of Cytecare Hospitals, Dr Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairman, Biocon, Academician Dr Gururaj Karajagi, Director of Academy of Creative Teaching, Vasanthi Hariprakash, founder of Pickle Jar Media, Former IGP Gopal Hosur, International swimmer Khushi Dinesh, Actor Ananth Nag, Indian Classical Dancer Vani Ganapathy, IPS Officer D. Roopa and Classical Musician and Veena Maestro, Dr Suma Sudhindra.
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