In December of 2010, Jatalo founder Aditya Viswanathan was visiting relatives in India when he stopped by a school in the rural outskirts of Delhi. Upon walking to the gates of the school, he noticed a group of small children in tattered clothes on their tiptoes, inquisitively peering over the wall at a lesson being taught in a classroom. After talking to the kids, he learned that many children in the area were unable to go to school due to the price of textbooks and related materials. Furthermore, attending students were dropping out at an alarming rate due to the burden placed on their families. Many of these children harbored dreams that seemed unattainable to them but very realistic if they were able to pursue an education.
Stunned by the circumstances of these children, Aditya began to talk to local administrators about the problem. What he found out impacted him even more. A group of generous teachers in the area was funding the education of a few needy children out their own salaries (as they had apparently been doing for several years). Furthermore, many of the kids that had been funded in previous years by these teachers had gone on to college and had begun professional careers. In fact, a few of these kids (now grown up) came back to thank these teachers for giving them the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
This proved something incredible to Aditya. Despite their lack of resources, these children had an inherent curiosity and love for learning. Given an education, these kids were no different than any others; they truly could go on to accomplish their dreams. However, generation after generation, the children unable to pursue a proper education were forced to continue the lifestyles of their predecessors, fulfilling lowly roles as fruit vendors, housemaids, and servants.
Jatalo was created to encourage impoverished kids to emerge from this cycle by pursuing an education as well as to spread awareness of the situation by bridging supporters (you guys) with the children you are impacting. Whatever you may carry in your Jatalo backpack, remember that you also carry the future of a child in need. Together, we can make a difference. Don’t ever forget it.