This IIT, IIM Graduate Ditched Placements To Create East India's Largest Free Residential School

39-year-old Vinayak Lohani chose a unique path after earning degrees from IIT and IIM, dedicating himself to providing education and shelter to some of the most disadvantaged children in eastern India. Instead of pursuing a high-paying job, this Bhopal-born man chose to serve society in Kolkata, becoming the first student in IIM Kolkata’s history to opt out of campus placements.

What To Know: Lohani spent his time writing about social initiatives and volunteering for NGOs, drawing inspiration from societal change-makers like Swami Vivekananda and Mother Teresa. These experiences sparked his desire to help the poor and led him to create Parivaar, an ashram and educational institution, in 2003.

With no initial financial support, Lohani relied on earnings from giving lectures and tutoring MBA students to fund Parivaar. He started with three students who were children, living hand-to-mouth and using his earnings to provide for them. The first substantial support came from his mother and later from a group of IIM alumni, who responded to his appeal for help, Lohani tells The Telegraph.

Today, Parivaar, spread across 20 acres, is the largest free residential institution for children in eastern India. It houses hundreds of boys and girls on two separate campuses and runs a co-ed school up to Class 10.

The children are not asked to leave once they finish their education; older students often tutor younger ones, earn pocket money and only leave when they feel ready. Thanks to Lohani’s tireless efforts, many of these children have gone on to earn university degrees.

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