Agastya Impact Story: C Sushmitha

Agastya International Foundation
4 min readApr 16, 2024

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Agastya Impact Story: C Sushmitha

21-year-old C Sushmita is currently working in Infosys as Systems Engineer.

She completed her integrate course of Intermediate and a bachelor’s degree in technology in Electronics and Communication from Indian the Institute of Information Technology (IT) - Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies, Basar: Telangana in 2023. Sushmitha believes she was a lucky child as she got the opportunity to explore Agastya’s Campus Creativity Lab from the young age of nine. She took part in campus activities with her cousin brother informally, until her seventh standard. Her zeal was so strong that whenever possible, after school, she would jump into Agastya’s vans, meant for other students for government school. She confessed, “Agastya people do not stop me or anyone from coming to the Campus as they encourage students who are curious to visit Agastya Campus and learn.”

Recalling her first visit, she felt some aspects of the Campus were a bit peculiar but in a good way. It was the first time she saw buildings that were different from those in her town. She kept thinking, “Why are the designs on the entrance like this? And why are there so many labs here?” After touring the extensive centres and grounds, the models in the biology lab attracted her the most. Sushmitha found the Agastya environment to be calming and relaxing.

The advantages of a government school

Sushmitha was ecstatic when she joined the nearby government run Andhra Pradesh Model School in Gudipalli, following which she formally joined Agastya. She recollected, “My school teachers were a bit rigid, and we were scared of them. The kind hearted and co operative instructors at Agastya would invite us to come forward and ask questions and also explain topics we know to others. Thus, our curiosity was satisfied an more importantly, our confidence built!”

Sushmitha revealed, “Since, I was not getting any practical teaching in our school I utilised this opportunity well.” She remembered once she was given a model of the internal organs of the human body in pieces numbered from 1 to 15. After matching the numbers on the pieces with the numbers on the body frame, she was able to make a model of the human body. She went home and explained the functioning of the internal organs to her brother and sister, and in the process, felt like she had learnt something huge at a very young age.

Sushmitha became a Young Instructor Leader (YIL) when she started her ninth standard. “I have always liked sessions at Agastya, so becoming a YIL made me literally fly with joy!” she says.

Her YIL journey at Agastya was full of opportunities and initiatives like cleaning the surroundings of their school and planting trees. Sushmitha once observed that the bus stop near her school did not have the bus schedules mentioned properly. The Agastya instructor, Mahesh, duly considered her observations and spoke to the government faculty in charge of the bus depot. After noting down the timings, Sushmitha and her fellow YILs painted the bus schedule on the wall.

When Agastya organised a session for parents, Sushmitha’s mother who is a homemaker and her father a sanitary department inspector in the Dravidian University along with siblings also too part. Sushmitha with her other YILs, showed them how to distinguish between real and fake condiments. For instance, they displayed brick powder along with fake chilli powder and real red chilli powder. By then, Susmitha became very bold in taking initiatives.

The confidence to approach the Chief Minister

Among other challenges, APM School did not have proper basic facilities like running water. Opportunity knocked when the Chief Minister, Chandra Babu Naidu visited Kuppam and was scheduled to pass by her school. Sushmitha prepared a list of problems that the students faced in discussion with her principal and gave the grievance list to the Chief Minister after boldly talking to him when his entourage stopped. The bold and fearless Sushmitha, credits Agastya for building confidence in her. The regional newspaper even published this particular event.

The Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Anandiben Patel gave Sushmitha and her classmate a silver medal for a project they submitted for IRIS (Initiative for Research and Innovation in STEM), a national level science competition. With the guidance of Mahadev sir from Agastya, they actually prepared dishwashing soap with Naaru Akku, a Telugu word for plain palm.

Sushmitha’s college gave her a study laptop but she did not know how to operate it. As she struggled to get instruction from others, she did not want her juniors to face the same. So, she along with five of her classmates, approached the principal for permission to teach juniors the basics of computer operations, which would solve the problem. She credits Agastya International Foundation for nurturing in her the ability to take initiative, thoughtfulness, to lead with confidence and to speak in public. She said,

“After going through the YIL programme and doing activities with teachers, anyone can get confidence and vision to take the initiative.”

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Agastya International Foundation

Agastya runs one of the world’s largest hands-on science programs for underprivileged children and teachers across India. Know more at www.agastya.org.