Ajit Kulkarni grew up in rural environs. After reading books about Baba Amte he went to meet the social worker and inspired by Amte's work, Ajit decided to dedicate his life to social work - a decision that has today brought succour to many poor, destitute, deprived and differently-abled children. Ajit was recently conferred an award instituted by an educational group of institutes for his contributions to the society.
These deprived children have managed to stand on their own feet without having to beg for help from others, thanks to Ajit's organization "Anam Prem" in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra.
Ajit originally hails from Madha taluka in Solapur district. The financial situation of his family was not very comfortable. Right from his childhood, therefore, Ajit developed a propensity to contribute to the family income by carrying out odd jobs that came his way - he worked in a printing press as a type-setter and even served as a water-boy, serving water to the students during the tenth and twelfth standard examinations.
Under such circumstances, Ajit paid a visit to the Somnath project initiated by Amte. Ajit was overwhelmed by the work of the social worker and the visit transformed his own life.
Ajit met Girish Kulkarni who was associated with Amte's "Ananadvan". Kulkarni advised Ajit to complete his education before launching into social work whole-heartedly. Ajit completed his D.Ed and then joined "Snehalaya", an organization that had been started by Kulkarni in Ahmednagar.
Snehalaya had also launched "Anam Prem" but the latter organization was facing a state of neglect owing to a paucity of funds and manpower. The task of even providing meals to the children under the organization's care had become difficult. Ajit found out the places from where he could obtain food at low cost and he also hit upon a plan to collect the excess food that otherwise would have gone waste at marriage and other functions. At that time, Ajit was working in a school as a teacher. He would dedicate himself to social work after the school ended for the day in the afternoon.
Starting with just two children, the number of children under Anam Prem's care rose to 35 within three years. Among other things, Anam Prem has Himmat Bhavan which lodges the poor and differently-abled children, runs the Anand Computer training centre, has a library of braille books for the benefit of the blind children, and also manages an orchestra that comprises differently-abled artistes.
All these activities require a lot of funds and Ajit cannot rely on donations alone. He has also hit upon a novel plan to collect funds - he corresponds with people who insert advertisements in newspapers to announce birthdays and such other events and urges them to divert the money for good cause. He also collects old newspapers (raddi) from people and cleans their homes. The money collected helps to build up the organization's resources. The farmers in the vicinity also help Ajit by providing vegetables.
Ajit has been steadfastly working towards making the poor, destitute and differently-abled children self-reliant so that they do not have to live dependent lives.