The Mudita School provides education, compassion and joy for all children
By Daniela Toporek
Nelson Mandela said that education is the most powerful weapon that can be used to
change the world, and Bharat Wankhade is taking this advice.
Bharat Wankhade is founder of the Mudita Multipurpose Society and Mudita School, a nonprofit organization and school in India that provides high-quality education and equal opportunities to children in Dalit communities.
“Dalit” means “broken” or “oppressed.” These communities are considered the lowest of the low in the caste system in India, a class and social hierarchy that determines access to education, employment opportunities and even marriage partners. In this system, Dalits are unjustly considered as the bottom of the barrel, and labeled as “Untouchables.”
Wankhade was born in Kathora-Gandhi, a small Dalit village in India.
“I was very lucky to have parents who worked very hard and had money to send me to school,” he said, remembering his youth. Now, he wanted to pay it forward and provide that same education to children back home.
Wankhade studied social entrepreneurship and leadership for social change, and worked throughout Europe, particularly Hungary, where he was moved by the Gypsy communities who have a similar social status as Dalits.
“I felt like I understood them and could relate,” Wankhade remembered. “I felt with them.”
Wankhade created the Mudita School in 2019.
“The Mudita School empowers children from Dalit and Tribal communities to break the cycle of caste discrimination and generational poverty through education, leadership, and compassion,” Wankhade said.
The name itself, “mudita,” means “pure joy,” according to the school’s official website, and is commonly compared with the joy parents get from watching their child grow into a successful and positively contributing citizen.
Although the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge blow to the program, Wankhade continued to provide what he could to the children.
“We’ve been asking for donations to make Happiness Kits,” he continued. These kits were filled with hygienic products, canned goods, small educational projects and workbooks and other goods that Dalit families struggled to receive.
“I was fortunate to have much support and get a quality education as a young child,” Wankhade said. “Now, it is my life mission to provide quality education and a nurturing environment to these children to achieve their full potential, to fulfill their dreams and develop into a productive and caring citizen of the world.”
To learn more about the Mudita School, visit www.muditaschool.org.
To donate, visit www.muditaschool.org/donate.