Aasra Trust – Sending Children to School with Dignity

It is not just about sending children to school, but sending them to school with dignity.

 

With this motto, Aasraa’s outreach program has successfully changed the lives of 327 children living and attending school in Dehradun’s slum areas. The Aasraa Trust was established as a social work trust focusing on education of underprivileged children in India. The children they work with, come from extremely impoverished backgrounds and are mostly rag pickers, beggars, addicts, runaways and orphans. Aasraa works towards empowering street and slum children through education, vocational training, nutrition, medical care, and providing shelter homes.

 

A lot of slum students were found to drop out of Aasra’s outreach program between the months of November to February in Dehradun. After some investigation, it was found that the little children were unable to stand the biting cold during those months. Since majority of these children came from low income families, their parents could not afford appropriate school uniform for the winter months, which was consequently affecting their learning and education program. Winters in Dehradun can be harsh, and the lack of winter school uniform did not help the situation.

 

The good people at Aasra were not about to let a slight weather condition meddle with the education of these children. In order for the children to continue going to school, without distressing their families, the trust decided to run a campaign on Impact Guru, and raise funds to provide each of them a set of winter uniform. The motive behind this campaign was to ensure that these students felt confident in going to school, and fit in with the rest of their peers. A set of winter uniform would include two full-sleeved shirts, two-worsted trousers/skirt, a sweater, a blazer, a cap, 2 pairs of socks, and 2 thermals.

 

Their target through the crowdfunding campaign via Impact Guru was to raise INR 2,00,000, but their story won the support of many, and the campaign achieved way beyond their target. Aasraa raised INR 4,20,407 within 36 days, as against their initial goal of INR 2,00,000.

 

So what was the secret behind their fundraiser’s success?

 

Use of audio-visuals

 

The team at Aasraa created a wonderful video explaining the plight of these children from financially weak homes, and the need for them to have adequate warm clothing for their health, as well as education.

 

Emotionally inviting campaign title

The title of the campaign –  ‘A sweater for Sonu’, itself, was enough to draw the attention of sympathizers, for it added a personal touch, giving us a glimpse into the lives of these amazing children.

 

Powerful narrative through their campaign story with honest goals

Their campaign story was a strong narrative about the problem and why it needed to be addressed. Moreover, it concluded with a proper break up of how the funds received through the crowdfunding campaign would be utilized. Their clear and honest goals instilled faith in the donors that their contributions would surely be put to good use.

 

Photographs of the children in school

Through their pictures of the outreach program, the donors were able to put a face to the children whose lives they would positively be impacting.

 

Proactive social media promotions

Additionally, Aasraa, along with our team at Impact Guru, were actively promoting their campaign in different circles, with the help of email marketing, and social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, Google+, and LinkedIn.

 

It surely did not take magic to put a smile on these children’s faces. All it took was careful planning and stellar execution by Aasraa and Impact Guru’s team. So what are you waiting for? Make sure that you tick mark all the above-mentioned points for your own fundraisers and make them stand out while making them successful.

 

Also, Impact Guru has recently entered into an exclusive partnership with Global Giving, which allows international donors in UK and USA to contribute towards campaigns on their platform. The reason being that the pattern of foreign donations in India has highlighted child welfare, education, rural development, and public health, as the categories with the most amount of foreign funding. This is a great opportunity for your NGO to raise money from donors in India as well as abroad!

 

Hurry! Make your fundraiser LIVE on Impact Guru today!

Can Crowdfunding be the answer to India’s Education Inequity?

“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”

– Benjamin Franklin

 

1.4 million schools, 227 million students, and 36,000 higher education institutions – the enormity of the Indian Education System stems from many such statistics. With 2020 being seen as the year when our country will have the highest population in the working age group, it is becoming imperative that these numbers start showing greater and real results.

 

Though there has been a continuous push towards improving the state of education in the country, the often non-conducive social environment and the lack of essential resources like skilled teachers, proper infrastructure and the money to run schools, present a constant roadblock in the process.

 

There is a need to bring a sea change in India’s education system, and even though crowdfunding alone will not turn around the scenario, it can definitely benefit the education sector in many ways.

 

Funds to support education for one and all

It may sound too good to be true, but there are people and organizations out there who would support a promising talent when they see one. This charitable approach can go a long way in easing aspiring students off the burden of education loans to pay their tuition fees.

The rising popularity of online fundraising platforms in India is garnering huge support from the NGO sector as well. The cash-strapped schools and the NGOs working with them often face huge obstacles in arranging funds for their students, but crowdfunding in India is changing the education scenario in many ways.

 

Building the infrastructure and bringing in resources

A classroom with benches and a blackboard, toilet blocks, water supply and a playground, are basic infrastructural needs of children going to school. There is also the pressing issue of a poor teacher to student ratio in many parts of our country. Though there are constant efforts of improving the study environment for as many students, in as many places as possible, there is always room for more helping hands.

In many cases, NGOs, teachers, school administration and even students have taken to crowdfunding to solve the problems that need immediate attention or to improve their coursework by upgrading the teaching modules. We can, as a crowd, make quality education a reality for a large number of young minds.

 

Supporting innovative ideas

It makes a huge difference when an individual is accountable to many people for their beginning and success. Through crowdfunding, if a student with an innovative idea and an execution plan gets a backer, it can help them build a more responsible and concrete approach towards putting their ideas into action.

 

Backing varied educational pursuits

With the growing exposure to career fields earlier unknown, there is a rise in the number of students taking up different study courses and landing up with a job that has them traveling the world or setting up their own business. Even though there are many takers for the various unconventional courses, securing an education loan to study them is still difficult. As donors, we can support a sportsperson, a filmmaker, a travel enthusiast or a social activist and give direction to a budding mind.

 

Crowdfunding in India is still in its nascent stage but online fundraising is steadily gaining ground. In the context of revolutionizing the Indian education sector, crowdfunding opens up the possibility of initiating a mass movement and thus, making education everyone’s business.

“Learning gives creativity,

Creativity leads to thinking,

Thinking provides knowledge,

Knowledge makes you great”

– Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Become a part of the education movement today!

Pappu will only pass if he goes to school

 

I loved school. Once I actually pulled the exact opposite of what’s known broadly today as a ‘’sicky’’ and pretended to my parents that I was well enough to attend. My infected insides attempted to reach out in every way possible to expose the lie, mostly through snot and sneezes. I sincerely doubt the reasoning behind the betrayal was an early, deep-set appreciation for the grounding framework that education would provide me in years to come; I expect I just had an undeveloped 90s version of TFOMO (the fear of missing out). It was ‘’Victorian day’’.

But of course, this younger and (only slightly more) self righteous version of me had a point. Education was a vitally important contributor towards the development of the well rounded, volatile person I am today. Not just for providing me with the obligatory academic knowledge I needed, but for a whole understanding of the world and people I would never have been exposed to otherwise.

Despite this, many people still question the validity and effectiveness in education. In some parts of the world, education is believed to be too too expensive for the rewards you will ultimately benefit. In developing nations such as India, many children miss out on elementary education altogether due to their socio-economic backgrounds. Initiatives have now been set up across the country, such as Street to school in Kolkata, which provides funding that goes towards helping slum children have access the vital elementary education.

This is not the only reason children do not attend school. A poverty stricken family would rather trade their child’s education in favour of work to help earn a family income. Often, children are abandoned and not provided with the practical means to attend school. This could be travel, stationary or uniform. In colder regions, organisations such as Aasra Trust provide winter uniforms to help prevent children wanting to drop out of school.

Some who have been born in extenuating circumstances, such as children of women who have brothel-based mothers, need extensive development support in order for them to grow physically, cognitively, socially and emotionally before they can even consider formal schooling. The charity Apne Aap Women’s Collective provides day and night care for 2.5 years to 5 year olds for children such as this.

Disability is also a huge factor in this. Children born with mental or physical impairments face huge marginalisation in school and are 70% more vulnerable. Charities such as Samadhan focuses on differently abled children , for those with cerebral palsy, autism or mental difficulties. This enables them to access education which previously wasn’t possible.

Of course, there are also organisations such as SETU, which supports all aspects of the education process, providing complete education for 294 children including all basic means such as text books, note books and stationery, uniform and mid-day meals.

I’ve written quick list here on why education is so fundamental in developing a child. Knowledge

  1. Morality
  2. Social skills
  3. Creative thinking
  4. Diversity of thinking
  5. Confidence
  6. Independence
  7. Learn new cultures and languages
  8. Healthier lifestyle – promotes healthy eating and sports
  9. Economic growth of the nation
  10. Setting yourself up for the future