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Tanmatra - Help My Children Fulfill Their Potential

Tanmatra is a Sanskrit term which comes from the root words, tan, meaning “subtle,” and matra, meaning “element."  In the Vedic theory of creation, it is the tanmatras that form the basis of all physical existence.  Simply put, Tanmatra translates to "potential". That is what my kids are, little children full of potential.  

Hello! :)
My name is Varun Goverdhan and I am a fellow at Teach For India. I work in a Government School near Vijaynagar in Bangalore and teach 70 enthusiastic 5th graders.

My kids come from low-income households and tough backgrounds, but are determined to not have that define them. They are curious about the world around them and are eager to learn and grow. My mission, over the next two years, is to create an ecosystem where these kids are encouraged to realize their potential and grab the opportunities that will help their families live a better tomorrow.

To accomplish this, we need to develop our school into a welcoming place where students are excited to come spend their day. Currently, our school lacks some of the basic amenities that children in schools need. We currently do not have clean drinking water, basins, soap, fans in certain classrooms etc. We also have minimal classroom and floor space where we currently try to accommodate around 480 children.

Our primary aim with the money is to have a functional water purifier, revamp the bathrooms, install electric fans in the classrooms, rejuvenate the ground outside the school and construct two additional classrooms to accommodate the influx of children. Additionally, I plan to introduce some basic technology in our classrooms and provide some interesting learning material.

All my expenses with the donated money can be viewed here. I will regularly update this document, so you can keep track of our projects. My kids and I are extremely grateful for every donation made here and no amount is too small. These projects will also benefit the community around by making our school a symbol of progress through quality education.

If you would like to donate in non-monetary ways, feel free to shoot me an email at

Thank you very much :)
Ask for an update
21st December 2017
Hello Donors!

With Christmas and the new year coming up, I thought this would be a great time for another update. Your funds have given me the ability to provide my school and children with so much more than I alone could have. My children and I value every single donation that we have received.
(Above: Children's day with my bunch of 5th graders)

This is the third update, for both you and me, to be able to measure our progress. Our four main priorities for our school site are: Sanitation and Hygiene, Stationary and Resources, Exposure and Access, and Infrastructure. These four areas will be addressed over multiple phases over two years.

1) The Karnataka government has recently switched all student records into an online system called the STS. Our teachers were finding it very difficult to be able to frequently access a computer and use the system. Thanks to your donations, we have been able to equip our teachers with a computer at school itself. My co-fellow and I are training the teachers on how to use the computer and maintain the online records.

(Above: Nagarathnamma Ma'am updating student records.)

2) Book Club Extension!
    As you have seen in the last update, I have started a book club with some of the kids that were excelling in English. The club started with 8 children and now we have expanded to 15 children. My hope is to have around 30 children invested in the book club by the the end of the year. In the picture below you can see one of my students, Hafeeza, with her favourite book. In just a couple of months, she has worked her way to the fourth Harry Potter book!

3) Football
  Through your donations, I have been able to acquire a few footballs and spark our children's interest in sports! We will be having a girls and boys team who will begin practice in January. Stay tuned for the next update to find out more on this.

4) Dramebaaz
    Dramebaaz is an initiative that drives life skills through theatre. We have signed up two teams from our school that will be performing a short play on January 24th. The kids are having a blast preparing for this and are learning a lot of valuable skills. If you are interested in attending the event on the 24th, please reach out to me.

5) English competition and Bangalore Literature Festival
 With the raised funds, we have also been able to give our children valuable exposure and access. In the last couple of months our children have participated in English competitions and were also able to attend the Bangalore Literature Festival. These kind of experiences are something our kids would not have been able to have without each one of you.

(Above: Asma, Hafeeza, Muskaan, Shahibaaz and Abu at the Bangalore Literature Festival)

6) Holiday Homework Packets!
With a long Christmas break coming up, I didn't want my children to lose out on time to improve their skills and grow. I have been able to compile various different resources into differentiated homework packets targeted at each child's growth. Thanks to your donations, I have been able to print, bind and deliver these books to the children.

7) Sports Day!
Recently, a few Teach For India fellows, organized a cluster wide sports day for our children. This was one of the few times our children have got the chance to showcase their talent and compete against children from other schools. Transporting a large group of children is usually a bit difficult, but thanks to your donations, we have been able to do so.

(My co-fellow Susanna with our sports contingent.)

8) Health Check Ups
Recently, preliminary health check ups were conducted for all the children in our school. Many of the children are reported to have eyesight and visibility problems. Going forward, we are going to be using some of the funds to provide the kids with spectacles. We will also be looking into other health related issues.

9) Robotics Club
Another exciting project we have undertaken is the school robotics club. Dr. Gajanana Birur, a NASA Scientist, has donated two Lego robotic kits to our school. I have been closely working with him to teach our children the hardware and software components of building a robot. Our plan is to have them compete in certain robotic competitions next year.

(Above: Ashoka, Abu and Likita with their first iteration of the robot.)

All of this has been able to happen thanks to your donations and I am eternally grateful for that. I will be constantly working over these two years to bring the school and the children to the best level I can. I wanted to thank you for helping me do all of this work and for helping me give my children opportunities they would normally not have. If you have any questions/suggestions please feel free to shoot me an email at As usual, all expenses will be updated on ​this excel sheet​​​. There is still a lot of work to be done, so do expect more updates coming your way!

Thank you,
Varun Goverdhan
2017 Fellow - Teach For India

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