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Monday, Aug 19, 2019

Pune’s Ecstasy Hub delivers a (legal) high like no other... changing lives

A receent outreach of the social endeavour saw volunteers revamp a downtrodden anganwadi - small primary school and day-care centres set up in areas where economically weaker sections of society can access.

pune Updated: Jul 29, 2018 14:41 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Ecstasy Hub volunteers get to work at the anganwadi.
Ecstasy Hub volunteers get to work at the anganwadi.(HT PHOTO)

The Ecstasy Hub is not a London nightclub (or one in Mumbai’s Soho) for the morally adventurous. The intriguingly named social venture was started by Sayali Ponkshe and is an online community aiming to have a real-life impact.

It may not be so much a sense of ecstasy in their latest outreach, not unless bright colours is your raison de etre. However, crossing that small but significant arch of reaching out is what changed colours for an ‘anganwadi’ at Rautwadi vasti, Paud phata.

Anganwadis come under the State government’s integrated child development services (ICDS) scheme and are small primary school and day-care centres set up in areas where economically weaker sections of society can access.

The anganwadis are many - there are 136 in Kothrud alone. Their upkeep and existing state of operations, however, is not such an endearing scenario.

Speaking of what she saw at the Rautwadi anganwadi, Ponkshe says, “The anganwadi was in extremely poor, unhygienic conditions with fading paint on the walls and broken doors.”

Ponkshe claims she then visited six other anganwadis to try and understand their problems; it was all the same.

“We (E-hub) believe that by giving a new and fresh look to an anganwadi, we can attract kids to the primary education on offer and thus encourage them for further studies. By making the walls interactive for kids, we aim to enhance a child's first experience of education,” Ponkshe explains, of the decision of her 40 volunteers to paint the Rautwadi anganwadi themselves; cost, labour, et al.

The fact that the ICDS centre in Kothrud, when approached for permissions, told Ponkshe that it was unaware of any government schemes or funds to revamp the anganwadis, certainly moved the Ecstasty volunteers to action.

So, armed with paint, 40 volunteers began revamping the anganwadi on July 14, 2018.

Volunteers from all walks of life joined the project.

“We collected funds for painting through the events that we held for the NGO,” says volunteer Bhooshan Deshpande.

Some volunteers, like Vanita Chabbria, approached the school where she teaches French and was given a Rs 5,000 donation. 

Volunteers cleaned, scrubbed painted - layers and coats - to complete the anganwadi project on July 22.

“We now want to cover more anganwadis. Whenever we get funds from individuals or organisations, we will start our revamping,” says Ponkshe.

Sayali Ponkshe, 25, is the co-founder at Green Earth Equipment, manufacturers of waste management machines. Currently Ponkshe is developing an incinerator called ‘Dahini’ that is capable of destroying used sanitary napkins, eradicating the problems of waste pickers. “The Ecstasy Hub is a volunteer-based organisation where we conduct an event every month related to the environment and to revamp anganwadis . Currently we have 80+ active volunteers,” Ponkshe says. The Ecstasy Hub was founded me in May, 2017.

First Published: Jul 28, 2018 17:01 IST

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