Shukla left a highflying career to educate India’s poorest children

In midlife, 26 years into a successful business career, Shukla Bose was feeling a big void in her life. “As a child, my mother had instilled in me a feeling of being born for a purpose,” she says. “So while I enjoyed climbing the [corporate] ladder, I kept asking myself: Have I really made a difference in anyone’s life?”

The answer did not satisfy her. “During the course of my career I inspired and mentored people, but that could have been done by plenty of others,” she says.

So in 2003 Ms. Bose left her highflying career, invested her savings, and set out on what has become a soul-satisfying journey by founding the nonprofit Parikrma Humanity Foundation in the southern India metropolis of Bangalore.

She drew on her keen business sense, which she had used to lay the foundation for the time-share vacation industry in India, along with her experience working in the slums of Calcutta as a university student with Mother Teresa.

Today, Bose’s foundation has a simple goal: Break the cycle of poverty for those living in the slums of Bangalore by educating – from kindergarten through college – at least one child in each family.

Children enrolled at Parikrma are chosen from slum-dwelling families who earn between $50 and $85 per month and who could never afford to send their children to school. With its four schools and one junior college (for Grades 11 and 12), Parikrma currently accommodates 1,566 students from 69 slums and four orphanages. It also runs a hostel for girls.

And it stands ready to fund each child’s college education.

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