Building India, Dhai Akshar at a time…

We all work through our entire life to provide for our families. There are still others who dedicate their life to the upliftment of others. Nyla Masood is working tirelessly to uplift children from the Versova slums.

Nyla Masood, Costume designer in the Film Industry & Managing Trustee – Dhai Akshar.

Nyla works in the Hindi film industry and is a costume designer by profession. While working with director Amole Gupte on the films Hawa Hawai and Stanley Ka Dabba, she had the opportunity to meet several underprivileged slum kids. She has been helping these kids in an inspiring manner since 2013.

Read on to know how they are changing Mumbai, one child at a time through their project

What is Project Dhai Akshar?
After volunteering for about 6 months, my friend, Shahla Raza and I took the initiative of starting Project Dhai Akshar. We started in August 2013 with an aim to utilise the children’s free time in a constructive manner. We wanted to provide a conducive learning environment for them. Our vision is to nurture each child’s personality and individuality by exposing them to  cultural art forms such as drama, dance, film, art and craft, photography, music, reading, sharing, discussing, and above all, dreaming.
How many children are enrolled under this? What is the economic profile of these children
Three years ago, we started with a modest number of 10 children. Today, 45 children regularly participate in Project Dhai Akshar. All the children come from the slums around Aramnagar in Versova, Mumbai. Their parents work as plumbers,painter, carpenters, drivers, casual labour, domestic help.

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Where are the classes held?
Our centre is situated at Aram Nagar 1. We cover 3 slums: Sagarkutir, Joseph Patel Wadi and Sundarwadi.
How did the idea of this project come up?
The seed was sown by my involvement in Amole Gupte’s films like Stanley ka Dabba and Hawaa Hawaai. After that, I worked as a volunteer in an NGO working for slum children. That is when my friend, Shahla Raza suggested we start our own centre.
 Who are the people behind Dhai Akshar?
This project was started by Shahla and me in 2013. Shahla left for Turkey the following year. Since then, I have been handling it. My husband pitches in for paperwork and Prabhjot Advani, our dance teacher who is also a trustee now, helps us with the meals every day, by forming a chain of ‘food angels’.
How is this project being funded at present?
So far it has survived on donations from friends and family. This year, we got our 80G. In addition, the IBDI Trusteeship Services Ltd. has provided us wi-fi for a year, a laptop, a projector and screen and funds for a mid-day meal as part of their CSR.
Is there a way in which the general public can get involved in the activities?
  • Yes. We need volunteers to help with school studies.
  • If anyone would like to share whatever art or craft they know, would be great. The involvement could be on a weekly basis or just a workshop.
  • We also need funds. Anybody donating any money gets a tax benefit.
What is the vision of this project?
Our vision stems from the fundamental belief in ‘equal opportunities’ for children and conviction in the fact that love can transform lives. It is our firm commitment to provide disadvantaged children with their basic rights – that of a free and happy childhood, the right to dream of a secure and safe future. To enrich their lives by engaging them in multidisciplinary programmes to enable them to learn, to love, to play, to dream and to grow. Our motto: Lighting Lives Lovingly
Swati Shetty, Media Professional – a friend and well-wisher
“I’m just so impressed, and equally moved by all that I heard and saw today. Not all of us can be as selfless and magnanimous as Nyla and people like her. But if there is any little bit of you that you’d like to contribute; money, knowledge, time, whatever… please go Like the page Project Dhai Akshar on Facebook, and connect with Nyla directly. They are also looking for funds to keep this going, so if you could contribute or get your organisation to, every bit would go a long way in building a great future for these kids.” Swati Shetty
1. More about Project Dhai Akshar:
2. 3rd Anniversary Celebrations:
For volunteering, knowledge sharing and donations, please contact:
Nyla Masood
Dhai Akshar Educational Trust
Tel: +919820087571 |
 Related Reads:

—–Mayura Amarkant

This is my Day 5 post for Ultimate Blogging Challenge  #DailyChatter through the amazing @BlogChatter community of bloggers.

Here is one more noteworthy cause that needs your attention:

  1. Spread a smile, gift a meal today


  1. That’s a great initiative by Nyla Ma’am and glad to see there are people like her who are empowering children. More so from a film background and using the medium of art to communicate ideas, getting children involved. Thanks Mayura for showcasing the good work of Dhai Akshar and that of Nyla Ma’am.


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