A Gem in the Shadows


This is a surprise blog post but one that was long overdue because she deserves it!!

Her journey with UPAY started in December 2015, when she was in the final year of her undergrad degree in Pharmacy. One day, while passing through the streets of Sitabuldi she came across one of our footpathshala classes. Her curiosity led her to find out more about the organization and her giving nature enrolled her as one of our volunteers. Today she is the Chief Administrative Officer (now Executive lead) of our organization. 

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In case you are still lost, here is a quote that will truly spark her name –

“The most truly generous persons are those who give silently without hope of praise or reward”  – Carol Ryrie Brink

Yes, we are talking about the one and only, Deboshree Bhattacharya.

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Her zeal to impart education was seen from day one. Despite the absence of volunteers in the first few days of her joining, she came to the center consistently, full of hope and vigor.  She used the wall of a house in the basti as a makeshift blackboard to teach her children. She would also bring the black rolling charts, combine them together and teach her classes. Her mother, Ms. Subha Bhattacharya, also encouraged her in this endeavor. She helped Deboshree to create a syllabus for our children to ensure they would be at level with their school-going peers. 

Deboshree takes a holistic outlook on education. Hence, she never just focused on the academic part of things. She ensured that her students were healthy and had the right environment to study in. She would often bathe the kids before starting her class to inculcate a habit of hygiene among them. It is a key issue among street children and her efforts were a starting point to overcome it. 

She isn’t just a good teacher but a keen learner as well. She was made part of the zonal team in mere few months of her joining. However, she faced a dilemma of choosing between a role in finance and one in PR. She chose the former as she had some idea about the tasks involved. However, circumstances left her with the later role. She did not let her lack of knowledge be a reason for not giving her best in any work she did. 

Deboshree learned from scratch, on her own, the skills needed to promote the organization. With support from her fellow volunteers, she changed how PR functioned in the organization. She changed the face of UPAY. She created the first banner of UPAY of PowerPoint. She curated an internet presence for the organization through various social media pages and the blog. She also streamlined various processes, smoothened volunteer and intern onboarding, made ID cards and visiting cards among other things. For pursuing her M.Pharm she had to shift to Mumbai where she was promoted as Director PR and also the member of steering committee of Pune. Despite her jam packed schedule she would travel whenever she would get a holiday to establish Pune zone and to expand the horizons of learning. 

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Her dedication to the cause, talents and willingness to learn and grow is held in high regard even by our PresidentMr Varun Shrivastava. He recounted a story of when she was made in charge of following up on UPAY’s application for the 80 G certificate. She would often travel from Mumbai to Pune to follow up on the application. On one such journey, her bus met with an accident. She was injured as a result. It did not stop Deboshree from doing her work. Without uttering a word about it to anyone she continued on her path to the income tax office and got the certificate. 

Crisis Manager is the term that he used to describe her. No matter what the work, Deboshree will get it done. 

Even Interns and Volunteers like us would agree that if we are to ever approach her with our personal crisis, she would address them with the gentlest nature.  

“A true leader is not the one with the most followers, but one who creates the most leaders.”

Deboshree has not just increased the reach of UPAY but has also been a force of creating many more leaders from within the organization that we see today. We are sure that the interns and volunteers who have worked with her would vouch for it. 

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She has always empowered those around her. Deboshree has always encouraged new innovative ideas from members by providing them with support and resources to make it a reality. She understands her team members like no other. She knows our strengths and weaknesses and always provides us an opportunity to grow. It is seen in her efforts to arrange training programs and skill development opportunities for the team.    

She knows every nook and corner of UPAY. Despite being stretched across multiple departments she is well aware of the littlest of the happenings in the organization. 

If we have to sum up Deboshree’s journey in a line it would be

 ‘A journey from PowerPoint to Canva’. 

She has an amazing command of the English language and can bowl anyone over with her communication skills. There has never been a dull moment with her being around. She is a role model for almost every volunteer who is associated with her. Patient, Sympathetic, and a connoisseur of perfection and details, she surely wins everyone’s heart.

To the shadow of our organization..we will forever be grateful!

Thank you Deboshree for always having our backs!

(Special thanks to Varun Shrivastav and Indrapal Neware)


Curated by: Fida Khan.
Edited by : Ananya Shetty.

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