On the eve of Children’s Day, 14 November, Prince Tiwari, a 23-year-old Chartered Accountant will begin his 24,000 km walk across India, which he aims to complete in 120 days. No, he is not keen to get himself listed in any record books. The purpose of this walkathon is simple: to raise funds to build a school of his own to give free education to the children living below the Kandivli bridge, and also to provide accommodation.
After graduating in 2014, Tiwari started his own NGO, Teresa the Ocean of Humanity Foundation, and admitted 24 street children in a private semi- English medium school in Kandivli. In 2015, he admitted an additional 49 kids, and now he is providing free education to 86 children. Tiwari pays their school fees, uniform, books, stationery, and one-time healthy meal.
Over the last year, the number of children have increased and so has the school fees — from Rs15,000 to Rs30,000 per child annually — as the school turned into an English medium institution, this year. But lack of funds has not deterred his spirit.
Tiwari said, “The number of children and the school fees, both have increased. The children who live below the Kandivli bridge can lose their house anytime as some organization under the pretext of Swachch Bharat Abhiyan has been attempting to clear the area. My students may loose their homes. They constantly keep facing health issues. I wish to build my own school where I can also provide accommodation to the students. Their families can also stay with them and start organic farming so that we can feed them healthy meals. My parents are not aware of my walkathon plan, but I am sure they will support me as they always have. I will return to Mumbai on 14 February, 2017.”