The Begining


The contribution of Late Lakshmi Nivas Birla shall remain as an ever lasting mark in the area of education, his journey beginning with the establishment of Hindi High School (now christened Birla High School) in Calcutta (now Kolkata) way back in 1941. Since then he had been instrumental in setting up schools like Ashok Hall and M.P.Birla which later blossomed into renowned institutions of Kolkata. Lakshmi Nivas Birla passed away, leaving the mantle to his son Sri S.K. Birla to carry on the work begun by him.

It had struck Sri S.K.Birla to make the good work in education reach the poorer sections of the city slums in Chetla. To initiate, he got together a team through Sukriti Education Society and Vidyamandir Society. A property was purchased in the locality at Mahesh Dutta Lane to act as a base. Dr. Gour Das, a known name in the area of philanthropic work carried on through the guidance of the Ramakrishna Order joined as a strong pillar behind the efforts.

A survey was held in 10 slums of Chetla with a team of five local women to ascertain the levels of literacy and health amongst the dewellers along with the number of school going children. The results threw up appalling conditions. The mothers were mostly maids working in different households in the area and the fathers were rickshaw and cart pullers, vegetable vendors and even unemplyoed, immersed in liquor. The children were mostly school drop-outs, neglected and led the life of street urchins.

Stress on the need for the children to go to school began with home visits to councel parents, especially the mothers. Since mothers are the pivot of the household and in a broader sense the society as a whole, the focus was laid on the mothers who would act as pillars of change in the ensuing conditions. Rightly, the organization was christened in the name of Holy Mother Sarada Devi - the Mother of all.

A school - Sarada Vidya Niketan - was established on the auspicious day of Poila Boishakh (Bengali New Year) in 2008 at the building in Mahesh Dutta Lane with 45 students in classes Upper KG and Class I. Thus began the "long journey" with the "smallest step" with the blessings of the Holy Mother .