Founder and Board member
In his professional life, Sandeep is a software engineer with SIMS Software, San Diego. He has a Masters degree in Computer Science from San Diego State University. In addition to passionately pursuing social work, Sandeep also enjoys hiking, skiing, cricket and badminton. As a founder and an active volunteer.Sandeep wears multiple hats – ranging from designing and developing the website, project management, finance, promoting ‘Beyond Intent’ activities and so on so forth.Since 2005 Sandeep has been working actively for Gangadhar Baba Chatralaya orphanage, Ahmednagar, India, promoting its cause and managing its requirements. He also had a year’s stint with Association of India’s Development , San Diego Chapter before he moved on to start ‘Beyond Intent’.
What inspired Sandeep to persue Social work and start ‘Beyond Intent’
A few years back on my annual India visit I happened to visit an orphanage near Shirdi in Maharashtra. I was told that we were going to stop there for 15 minutes. This orphanage is run and supported by a relative so my interest grew. Really speaking I did not know what to expect. I had just started my career as a software engineer and was in my own world, happy and happening, as I would call it! When I stepped in the premises of the orphanage, the manager -Prakash Sapkal, emerged from a small dingy smoky room. It was the kitchen. He showed me way to the orphanage office and there I saw a 2 year old kid with extremely innocent looks sitting on a couch. As the manager continued to give information about the facilities available and day to day activities at the orphanage, I couldn’t resists asking him about the kid. His story was something like this.
“The kid was found all alone on a bus-stop. Someone found the kid around 10pm, informed the police and brought the kid to the orphanage. Later, next morning, the police showed up at the orphanage with more information about his family. They were accompanied by an elderly man who was the kid’s grandfather. He told everyone that his daughter had an affair with a person and had given pre-marital birth to this kid. The kid’s father denied to marry and also denied taking up any responsibility of this kid. He got married to someone else and paid some money (about $300) to the girl’s family so that they don’t bother him again. The girl’s family managed to arrange the girl’s wedding but they didn’t reveal anything about the kid. After having been abandoned by both the parents, it seems now it was his grandfather’s turn! So the guy leaves him at a bus stop and just walks away. His reason was simple but harsh, he was too poor to feed the kid. When he showed up at the orphanage, he had decided that he would like to have no association with the kid whatsoever and was ready to sign the release papers. Police completed all the necessary paperwork and just a few hours before my arrival, the kid was officially accepted at the orphanage.” (By the way, if you have visited our Picture gallery you will see the kid there. I am not giving away his name for privacy.)
A small journey through this story but it just made me come face to face with the stark reality that I had never seen before. I could not digest the thought of being abandoned by one’s own parents. How was that two year old even going to understand this and when he does what is he going to think? After I got over with this shock, I realized the most amazing thing that the kid was happy and playing with his toys. Of course he didn’t understand anything. But now he was in safe hands. What amazed me was that there was one kind of people who did not accept their own and then there was another kind, those who accepted a complete stranger and will take care of him till he stands on his own feet!
A small incident that made me think. The initial thoughts were…how could I help? I don’t stay in India, what can I do when I stay all the way in California? How to approach the organizations who work in India? How do I tell them about this orphanage? How will I be able to work on their projects and get some more help from people who are willing to help? Whom to trust?
With all these questions in mind, I remembered something I learnt in first year of engineering, find out what needs to be done…then there is a good chance that you will figure out how to do it!
I started taking interest in the small things at the orphanage just by making a phone call every few weeks. Along the way as I kept helping them with small projects I came across a lot of people in various paths of life who were away from India but seriously wanted to do something for India, to help India in some way. They had a sense of responsibility, a thought to help someone!
I began working with some NPO only to realize that there was too much bureaucracy, meetings, paperwork than what was getting done. If nothing else, having spent some time there at least gave me an understanding of how to go about a project dedicated to a social cause. As I started moving forward, learning more about NGOs, NPOs, FCRA, IRS Regulations for Non Profits, I met two people, Piyush and Satya who had similar intentions. One day we sat down to discuss our ideas.
After a few initial meetings, we decided to form a non profit organization that will:
• Directly get involved with a local non profit where the projects are going to be carried out
• Support the projects by raising funds and providing resources
• And most importantly keep the process completely transparent
And thus ‘Beyond Intent’ was formed.