September 7, 2018: Ashok Deshmane is the son of a Marathwada farmer. Growing up amid extreme poverty and daily struggle, he studied and became an engineer – got a job and began to live a good life in Pune.
At the time, he soon began to hear of droughts in his hometown as well as the increasing number of farmer suicides. Heartbroken, he wanted to do something. So he began by donating 10% of his salary to help farmers. He also started giving tuitions to less fortunate kids in Pune district for free. But when the kids had to leave, he realized how much more he needed to do to help them out.
In 2015, he started his NGO called Snehwan. Through this project, he decided to adopt kids belonging to families where a farmer had died by suicide. Soon, he found many of these families were in huge debt and the kids had no where else to go.
“I felt if I had the will I would find the way. I began working night shifts, and for 8 months I continued to work towards setting up this shelter. A friend of mine gave away his old house of 4 rooms for the children to live in, and I got Snehwan registered. However, the night shifts began affecting my health,” Deshmane says, in Milaap.com . So in August of 2016, he quit his job to put all his energies into educating the children he had adopted.
Ashok Deshmane married Archana in November 2016, and the couple has since been taking care of and educating 25 children in their tiny 4-room residence.