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An educationist par excellence with vision and foresight for the future

Saturday, November 16, 2013
By Perin S. Bagli

Activity High School is an offshoot of the New Activity School founded in 1953 by eminent educationist Late Mrs. Dolat Doongaji.

Due to the lack of Montessori Schools in the vicinity, Mrs. Doongaji took it upon herself to start her own school.

After a few months of hunting for a new place, she found an open terrace at Hughes Road (now 13 N.S.Patkar Marg), which belonged to the Tejpal Trust.

Laxmichand Tejpal, the Trustee of Tejpal Trust, was impressed by Mrs. Doongaji's personality and agreed to build a Nursery School for her on his terrace. With financial aid from her mother, she had rooms built the New Activity School. The school grew like Alice in Wonderland's magic cake, reaching the strength of about 50 children.

Under the able guidance of Principal late Mrs. Mani Rustomjee, the School reached the pinnacle of its glory and earned a good name.

It remained a Primary School for 14 years. In 1967, it became a full-fledged institution -- "THE ACTIVITY HIGH SCHOOL".

The present building is called Sahny Villa, and is situated at 2 N.Gamadia Road, off Pedder Road.

Three tenants and a few unauthorized shops occupied the existing School building. Mrs. Doongaji and I worked very hard to get rid of all the shops and two tenants to get the extra space. Eventually we managed to break the West side of the building and build a four-storey structure with some space for the playground. Mr. Doongaji provided us with legal advice and his support was pivotal in school's upbringing.

While the School building was being conceptualized. I spent innumerable hours visiting other Schools reviewing their architectural designs, lawyer's offices to ensure that we did not go outside the law and meet building codes.

The B.M.C. and Urban Development Department at Mantralaya, to get the required licenses and permissions to get our plans passed.

I feel connected to this school on a personal level. As I ran the school canteen, visited numerous organizations in order to get advertisements and sponsorships. These would be used to host fundraisers to help build the school. A combined venture with the invaluable contribution of Mr. Ajit Khatri, the architect, late Mr. Aspi Irani, the builder and late Mrs. D. Doogaji who approved and guided the final design and layout, the existing 4 storey school building on Pedder Road rose up as a proud structure in 1982.

In 1972, the Piroja Vasunia Education Trust, a public charitable trust, registered with the Income Tax Act, 1961, under Section 12A was formed to collect the corpus for the new school building. The trust is registered under 80(G) of the Income Tax Act 1961.

The following trustees of the Piroja Vasunia Education Trust were:
1)    Late Mrs. Dolat H Doongaji (Chairperson)
2)    Mrs Perin S. Bagli
3)    Mr. Girish Chitalia
4)    Mrs. Meher Engineer
5)    Mrs. Zubeida Das
6)    Mr. Baji Bhomisa

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