- 03 Feb 2022
Educate a woman, and you educate a nation. This African proverb best describes the story of Antara Sarkar. Co-founder, daughter, and wife are few of the many hats Antara wears. But the one closest to her heart is teacher at Sunday Class, a school that brings STEM education to children belonging to underserved communities, free of cost. Read on to know how this couple inspires change while working full-time.
Sunday Class is one of a kind - an initiative by Antara and her spouse, Dr. Anurup Mitra, that brings quality education to children from government schools. They are the hearts and minds behind Sunday Class, two people with supportive family and friends, who care for the kids they teach. Antara and Anurup work five days a week and spend every other Saturday preparing to teach children on Sundays. Why, you ask? Because these children mean the world to them. They are smart, talented, engaged and this couple is dedicated to unlocking amazing opportunities for them all.
For the children, Sunday class in an amazing place to study! Through STEM education, they’re exposed to topics that may not always be part of their school curriculum. Antara and Anurup have not only designed a classroom that covers robotics, computers, electrical engineering, fashion design and similar topics, but a safe space to talk about all things that teenagers should know. They encourage open discussions around menstruation, LGBTQ and rights, sexual abuse, infatuations during puberty and all things that even modern Indian schools do not cover. Along with skill development, creativity and enhancing emotional intelligence, they focus on areas that help children develop life skills.
Antara has worked with incredible nonprofits over fifteen years. She was first introduced to the concept of social work during her graduation when she came across a group of volunteers who taught the children of laborers. She signed up to volunteer and understood what it meant to give back, even in the smallest way possible. She then spent two months volunteering at a village where she helped kids learn by organizing a summer camp. She taught uneducated adults, participated in food distribution drives, assisted doctors at medical camps in villages and blood donation camps. Citing her travel and volunteering experiences as eye-openers, Antara saw the world from a broader perspective. While volunteering to teach at a government school, she came across children who were given little to no opportunity to prosper and were forced to drop out of school due to poor financial conditions. The desire to bring quality education to kids gave birth to Sunday Class.
Their work extends beyond education to include food distribution to families of children, covering school fees during difficult times and even medical expenses. Most students come from low-income households with parents who struggle with addiction. When they found that children were forced to discontinue formal education, Antara and Anurup visited their homes, dark and dilapidated, and convinced their parents for months. “When you’re out to do good in the world, there will be problems and heartaches. What’s important is to show up, no matter what”, says Antara.
This couple is inspired to walk down the path less travelled and educate children who deserve it all. They go out of their way to spread smiles and build a safe environment for students to flourish, and importantly, be themselves. They celebrate tiny wins together, host unique awards and relish meals like family. They understand that social work is a full-time job and are committed to it. “Volunteering is not easy. It takes up a lot of you in many ways if you really care about the cause”, they said.
Antara and Anurup are extremely proud of their work with Sunday Class, excited to groom their students all along. Antara holds countless fond memories of working with students, but when they call Anurup ‘Papa’ and when her former students go back to school because of Sunday Class, Antara knows all her hard work is worth it. They’re grateful to have the opportunity, resources, and the will to do good. Sunday Class truly inspires young lives! Giving for Good Foundation salutes this unique initiative and the hard work Antara and Anurup put in to educate children. It’s true, small acts of kindness are worth more than grand intentions.
Sakshi dreams of writing a gripping murder mystery – unless she’s creating content and building the Giving for Good brand. She’s a tennis player, a swimmer, a crime fiction enthusiast, and a twenty-something-year-old who enjoys volunteer work.