Louisville engineer uses expertise to renovate school in his hometown in India

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville District
Published April 9, 2021

Louisville District Engineering Management Division Reserves Section Project Engineer Ramarao Vuddagiri recently provided financial, planning, engineering and in-person support during his free-time to complete the renovation of a school in his hometown of Hyderabad, India. 

The school, Nishulk Prabhat, which serves as a primary, middle and high school all under one roof, was originally built in 1941 and was in dire need of repair and modernization, according to Vuddagiri. The school operates through contributions and currently provides tuition-free education to 250 underprivileged students. 

“I grew up in India, a third world by most standards, and thanks to my beloved parents, I was extremely fortunate to have access to good schools, food, clothing and shelter at all times,” Vuddagiri said.  “However, not every kid in that part of the world is as blessed as I was.”

The level of poverty in parts of India, especially in the inner cities, is high and some parents are not able to afford to send their kids to schools. The current system there is not designed to give these local children a decent chance for education, therefore, a lot of these kids eventually end up in the streets and turn to crime at a very young age as a means of survival, according to Vuddagiri.

“While I can’t change the entire system, I undertook renovating parts of an old school that provides free education to under privileged kids,” Vuddagiri said. 

The school now focuses on providing children living in the city opportunities by providing access to education, food and freedom from abuse.

“This is really inspiring work from Ram,” said Josh Van Bogaert, Engineer Divisions Reserves Section chief who serves as Vuddagiri’s supervisor. “Thanks in part to Ram’s contributions, the Phase I of the project included providing the school with a new library and a game room.” 

According to school personnel, not only are students enjoying reading books in their new library, but students have also improved their reading skills. Teachers have also benefited from this addition by having the ability to explore different books to help them educate their students. 

Phase 2 of the project included a complete renovation of the primary wing, which includes students in grades one through five. 

“Each classroom of the primary wing now has ample daylight and are equipped with a computer, printer, projector, ceiling fans and new furniture,” Van Bogaert said.

During his visits to his hometown, Vuddagiri spends time with the children at the school and offers support to the caretakers, and distributes food packages, clothes, shoes and other necessities.

“Education, in my opinion, should provide some of these kids an opportunity for the economic freedom they have longed for all their lives, possibly heal the wounds of rejection and neglect, and eventually allow them to thrive in a society that chose to abandon them.”

Both phases of the project are dedicated to Vuddagiri’s late parents. Vuddagiri plans to travel for the formal dedication of Phase 2 when COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted.

Learn more about the school transformation at this link: https://youtu.be/oMUKrXImmEc.