Nav -Jeevan Sanstha is in existence today because of Mrs.I.S,Wilkinson from Nagpur India and Ms. Annelies van de Ven from the Netherlands. Though the project is only 15 years old, the seeds were planted in 1980. At that time, Mrs. Wilikson, a high school teacher by profession, managed an orphanage in Nagpur. Annelies adopted two little girls from this orphanage, and when her daughters grew up Annelies asked Mrs. Wilkinson what she could do for Nagpur as thanks for giving her two beautiful children. Mrs. Wilkinson had always felt very strongly that the section of Indian society most in need of help were slum/street children. Orphans belong to an institution where they are cared for, but slum children, by virtue of having parents, are not considered society’s responsibility and are doomed to live a life in abject poverty and ignorance just like their parents.
The two ladies came up with the idea of starting a school for slum children, and a vocational training center for slum women in Central India. At the time Mrs. Wilkinson was already 72. Her daughter Mrs. Aneeta Patel registered Nav-Jeevan Sanstha in Nagpur in 2003, Annelies simultaneously launched Stichting Nav-Jeevan in Holland as a non-profit. Till date, Stitching Nav-Jeevan remains the main sponsor for the work carried on by Nav-Jeevan Sanstha (NJS). The foundation raises funds by giving information and lectures. Since 2003, 100% of the donations go to NJS.
Initially it was difficult to convince the parents of the importance of education for their children. Being uneducated themselves, the parents couldn’t understand why it would be useful to send their children to school rather than out on the roads to beg. To them it seemed a loss of income. Finally what changed their minds was that the children receive a free meal and medical care. When the school began we were caring for just a few children, but today all 220 of our students still receive free food, medical care, and an education
Today NJS is housed in a beautiful building with all modern amenities thanks to the efforts of its Dutch partner. NJS is also currently in the developing stages for implementing a women’s vocational program.