The Telangana Yuvathi Mandali (earlier named Andhra Yuvathi Mandali) is one of the oldest organisations in the city that focuses on education of women.
TYM was started in 1935 by freedom fighter and social worker Yellapragada Sita Kumari and Illindala Saraswathi Devi. Anantalakshmi, wife of then chief minister Burgula Ramakrishna Rao, was the president. The non-profit organisation, which completed 80 years in October, runs a school, an Intermediate, a degree and an MBA college. They also teach tailoring and typewriting.
“The focus back then was to bring the women out of the then existing purdah system and empower them by providing education,” says Nivedita Kumar, secretary. “We function without government aid. We also charge nominal fees. We cannot make it free since we need to maintain infrastructure.”
Around 1,200 students are now being educated at the institute. “We also had a working women’s hostel in the 1960s which was closed in the ’90s after the demand went down. An intermediate college was started in 1995, the degree college in 1998 and MBA programme in 2008.”
Ananda Gowri, Nivedita Kumar, Sarojini Reddy, Manjula Devi, Udaya Lakshmi and Sri Vani
Back then, it was the government who hired teachers and paid them their salaries and the organisation only provided the infrastructure. But after the government withdrew the scheme, the school was left to fund on its own. “How do we pay the salaries with such minimum funds? That is the problem we have been facing since then. In between, we had started computer courses and collected fees. We have now planned to start a corpus fund (the interest of which should take care of the salaries) for the school, for which we, the committee members run around and collect donations. We also run a function hall which we give out for rent and charge Rs 35,000 for half day,” says Nivedita.
Even with such minimum resources the educational institution has great infrastructure — it has audio video storytelling sessions for kindergarten students, computer, science labs and a gym too. The organisation runs free daycare centres at Uppal, Ramanthapur and Ghatkesar. The government also provides mid-day meals to the students. “We have an active alumni community and all of them are well-placed. They help us in organising a free eye camp and general health camp at the school. We also have students who are Pratibha Award winners,” she says, adding, “People don’t believe that we are doing free service, they think we all have our share of benefits. We also end up paying around Rs 4 lakh property tax every year. Nobody realises that we are trying to build the best infrastructure with such little resources.”
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