Non-profits cooperate to implement secondary school education program in India

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At a meeting of the Share and Care Foundation (SCF) members and the Light of Life Trust (LOLT) representatives from India, July 22-23, attendees pose for a group photo. From left, Kishen Shownee – LOLT; Pradeep Koppikar – LOLT; Ajit Kothari – SCF; Arun Bhansali – SCF; Jayu Parikh – SCF; Asha Dalal – SCF; Dr. Villy Doctor – LOLT; Sudha Bhansali – SCF; Ila Kothari – SCF; Dr. Alpana Gandhi – SCF; Tejal Parekh – SCF; Dr. Kanan Patrawalla – SCF; Dr. Shirish Patrawalla – SCF; Jaya Ahuja – LOLT; and Dinesh Gandhi – SCF. ­ (Photo: Share And Care Foundation, USA)

 

The Share and Care Foundation in USA (SCF), a well-known non-profit that has invested millions into projects to help underserved populations in India, is working with the Indian non-governmental organization, Light of Life Trust’s ‘Anando’ program, to implement a core program – Educate to Success (E2S) since 2013, Representatives of the two organizations are raising awareness in the U.S. about the success achieved in helping the most vulnerable children in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, complete their secondary education.

Doctor, an expert in meditation, who has done doctoral studies in psychology and taught at Sophia College, Mumbai and other colleges. She was in New Jersey July 22 and 23, after having traveled to Charlotte, N.C., Washington, D.C., and Connecticut. She told Desi Talk she has come to the U.S. several times to raise awareness about the benefits of her meditation program, and that on this trip, she was meeting SCF members to discuss the E2S project’s success and how to expand its reach.

“Our vision is to cover all of India’s 45 million dropouts. It’s a huge task ahead,” Doctor said. The LOLT has been carrying out currently supports 2,500 children, of which, a little more than 500 are also supported by SCF. Doctor said LOLT hopes to raise the number of its students to 4,000 this year.

In India, it is estimated that more than 300 million school-age children from rural and tribal areas face difficult socio-economic conditions and very poor educational infrastructure, resulting in high drop-out rates, SCF said in a press release. Estimates show that about 40% of the school children do not go beyond grade 8, which led SCF to partner with LOLT by supporting more than 650 of its students every year through the Project E2S-Anando.

Dinesh Gandhi of Share and Care, shared with Desi Talk, the impact of the partnership on E2S since 2013. During the year 2016-17, the program covered 526 acutely disadvantaged students out of which 211 students (58% girls, 42% boys) were in Grade 10 who appeared in Senior Secondary exams. Ninety six percent of those students passed the exam. Of these, 60% passed with First Class or First Class with Distinction. “These results are significantly better than those for the students without the program support,” Gandhi said.

“Just in the year 2016-17, with standardized tests, we have seen 7-10% improvements in the following personality attributes: Self-Confidence, Self-Sufficiency and Emotional Maturity,” Gandhi noted.

Starting 2017-18 SCF-Anando program will cover 666 students. “We plan to go to 1000 students every year in the next 2 years,” Gandhi said.

The LOLT currently has 150 social workers who identify school dropouts from poor families, and work with the families and teachers of those students to help raise their performance and their self confidence, Doctor said. Typically, one social worker covers 70 children from 5 schools across 8 villages, and track the progress of each student, providing supplementary help as needed, including aspects of personality development.

Gandhi visited some of the E2S centers and said they are located in the “remotest” areas. “It is such a grassroots operation, very impressive – reaching where nothing else is able to reach, touching the most vulnerable children, nurturing them so that they finish high school,” Gandhi said. “LOLT has such an excellent system of monitoring the child, including formal testing of personality of the child as well as the subjects, to get a clear indication of how the child is doing.”

While Share and Care has not formally launched a fundraising effort in the U.S. specifically for this joint effort with LOLT, Gandhi said people visiting the shareandcare.org website can donate to the project they like. “We are seeing that people are beginning to earmark specific projects. And this is a very appealing project,” Gandhi said.

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