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!

Report Card: Government’s Midday Meal Scheme

Do you know the best way to get a country out of poverty? The answer is simple: Education! However, getting underprivileged children to school is a big challenge government and nonprofits are trying to overcome. Providing free education was not enough to attract underprivileged to schools, as parents rather have their children work so they have one less mouth to fill. Trying to solve this problem, the government decided to provide schools with mid-day meals. And it worked wonderfully!

The program was originally launched in 1925 and gradually implemented in a few other states, it took the government decades to make the Midday Meal Scheme national in 1995.

The idea was simple, help underprivileged children get a basic education and at the same time provide food at schools as an incentive to curb absenteeism and dropouts. In addition, this scheme combined a second goal: the simultaneous enhancement of the nutritional levels among children. Thus,  making this Midday Meal Scheme the largest nutrition program in the world.

According to reports, today 87% of government schools implement the scheme across India. It represents almost 120 million meals every day for supported costs of 2 billion dollars a year with additional funding coming from state governments. Yes, it’s huge!

The report card says it all. School attendance rates improved, sometimes by as much as 10%, combined with a decline of dropouts. Overall, it “improved nutritional intakes by reducing the daily protein deficiency of a primary school student by 100%, the calorie deficiency by almost 30%, and the daily iron deficiency by nearly 10%” according to Farzana Afridi in the Journal of development Economics. It is more than satisfactory as 1.3 million children die every year in India prematurely because of malnutrition.

However, the journey has been bumpy for the scheme.  The program failed with the hygiene and safety standards in specific areas. In 2013, 23 children aged from 4 to 12 years old died in Bihar because they ate a contaminated meal provided by the Midday Meal Scheme. According to media reports, police investigations revealed that oil used to cook the meals was stored in a former pesticide barrel. The same year in the same state, 50 children had to be hospitalized after dead lizard and worms contaminated their meal.

Human error or something else? According to reports, one of the reasons for the fallout was that the government could not afford to invest in hygienic standards everywhere. The limited financial
resources lagged in providing kitchens, storage facilities, utensils, set up effective quality controls and supply chain. In some cases, the government had no choice than to give the responsibility to teachers to spend time in the kitchen to prepare the meals, a role that is clearly not theirs. In some cases, nonprofits stepped in.

Government – NGO, a win-win partnership

The delivery of mid-day meal scheme may be improved by collaborating with private entities and non-government organizations. NGOs were well implanted in their region, they are smaller entities making possible an efficient management and control quality, and can enjoy of higher financial resources as they can enjoy money from private or corporate donors as well as from the government as part of the contract. For instance

For instance nonprofits like Annamrita is the perfect example of such a partnership. Every day, devoted trained cooks wake up at 3.am to prepare quality meals in 20 centralized hi-tech kitchens including heavy-weight vegetable-cutting, potato-peeling machines, steam cookers for fuel efficiency, and needless to say, with very high standard of hygiene. The meals are specifically designed, to both, provide the nutritional requirements and to be adapted to local tastes with a variety of elements in order that the children don’t get bored. Annamrita’s midday meals cater to over 12 lakh children every day.

HELP ANNAMRITA CHANGE LIVES BY DONATING HEREhttps://www.impactguru.com/thibaut-gougeon-soutenez-mon-action-pour-nourrir-et-envoyer-de-enfants-lcole-lets-feed