#atozchallenge: QueenRani ProjectWhy’s Success Story

For the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I’m blogging 26 days in April based on the alphabet and bringing you stories from the nonprofit Project Why.

Damyanti Biswas talks about the Nonprofit ProjectWhy In the slums of New DelhiThe story of Project Why is also Rani’s story. In Hindi, the word Rani means Queen, and this queen has been part and parcel of Project Why from the time it was still a thought.

Project Why first met  Rani at her formidable mother’s house. At 15, her life was totally controlled by her mother. She had dropped out of school, beaten for not paying her fees in time, and her mother had decreed that there was no need for her to go back. She was considered to be of marriageable age, so her family enrolled her in a nursing aide course till a groom was found.

Under Rani’s docile and meek appearance, there lay a feisty and burning spirit waiting to be unleashed, and Project Why proved to be its playground.

Rani was the first student of Project Why’s English classes. When Project Why decided to start a nutrition program for children and pregnant and lactating mothers, she offered to ‘help’. Within a day she had a list of beneficiaries and a distribution schedule. When she was told that there could be no remuneration at that pount, she smiled. Rani had come to stay.

Damyanti Biswas talks about the Nonprofit ProjectWhy In the slums of New DelhiRani soon became Project Why founder Anouradha Bakshi‘s executive assistant, and her never-say-die attitude ensured that within a short year Project Why had a crèche, a section for special kids and the trademark after school support. Wise beyond her years, she was a huge asset in assisting with staff selection, and finding space. Her biggest role however was to negotiate the tricky pathways of slum society.

Rani is imaginative, industrious and resourceful. After the departure of the Project Coordinator a few years ago, Rani became the obvious choice.

As Project Why grew, so did Rani. Over the years, this school dropout managed to clear her board exams from the Open school and completed her graduation from the Open University.

From running the Giri Nagar, Govindpuri, and Okhla centers, to making volunteers comfortable to receiving guests, Rani does it all. In between she troubleshoots, resolves crises as varied as dealing with the local cop or politician to counseling a parent, to finding a repair man on a national holiday, to organizing a wedding elephant for a special donor!

She meets all challenges head-on. When a German donor invited a Project Why member to Germany to talk about the Project, she hopped on a plane all by herself and addressed the gathering with confidence, winning many hearts.

Not only did she change her own life but she slowly transformed the life of her family. One of her greatest feats was to win over her mother and the dowdy girl wearing clothes selected by her mother was seen in jeans and even dresses.

Rani has made sure that her nieces and nephews go to good schools as she has understood the importance of education. Her family now does not go to quacks but to good doctors and even the menu in the house in now healthy.

Rani single-handedly ensured the upward mobility of her family.

The marriage that had been in the making for the past 15 years finally took place in April 2015. Rani chose the man she would share her life with. Rani’s story is the story of a seemingly shy and withdrawn young girl who blossomed into an incredible woman of substance. I’ve met Rani several times, and worked with her: she’s very hands-on, efficient, and cheerful!

If Rani’s success story moved you, and you’d like to help other girls like her,  consider donating to Project Why: CLICK HERE.

To Contact Project Why, Click Here

What would you say to Rani? Do you know girls like her who blossomed into a woman of substance? How do underprivileged girls in your community fare? How does the school system work where you live?

Please join Daily (w)rite on its Facebook Page if you’d like to be heard by this community. If you liked this post, you can have biweekly posts delivered to your inbox: click the SUBSCRIBE button in the sidebar. The daily posts are only for April: I’m doing 26 posts on the fab nonprofit Project Why for my A to Z Challenge.

I love comments, and I always visit back. Blogging is all about being a part of a community, and communities are about communication! Tweet me up @damyantig !


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  1. Three Weeks of #AtoZChallenge | Fabulus and The Blue Life

    […] Q for Queen Rani at Daily(w)rite: Damyanti is writing about the the non-profit Project WHY, and she brings you stories from everyday heroes, everyday. The real-life stories tell you about the many people in the world who may not have access to all the necessaries/luxuries of life. How they are touched and nurtured by this organisation’s helping hand, is a miracle in itself. Do read it, and make sure that you do your bit to helping this cause. […]

  2. Shamika Bakshi

    Rani is my best friend, we know each other for 15 yaers now and in all these years we have tought each other many things. We have shared all our happiness, sadness, worries. She is a dynamic person, full of positivity and teaches you things everyday. I am so blessed and happy to have her in my life.

  3. aj vosse

    Reading about positive people like Rani and many of the other Project Why faithful fills one with hope for the future! Great to hear of folk who grow into inspirational leaders! 😉

  4. davidprosser

    What a very resourceful young lady. The Project Why has done a lot for her and hasn’t she repaid that so many times by putting her new found knowledge to use on their behalf. She must be a treasured member of staff these days and proving a real asset.
    May the project go on helping people for many years to come and changing society for the better through education.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    • Anouradha Bakshi

      Rani has definitely given more to Project Why than we have given her. We are constantly impressed by her dedication, ingenuity, and compassion. Thank you for your comment!

  5. franklparker

    Complete contrast to the last story. There a family destroyed a young woman’ chances. Here the young woman lifted her family. Truly inspiring. Thank you, Damyanti, for all these Project Why tales. Only 8 more to go!

  6. Sha'Tara

    Every story you tall about Project Why has been eye-opening, challenging, heart-wrenching reading to challenge Dickens’ style. Maybe someday you’ll put these true-to-life stories and put them in a book?