Posted by: helpachildtostudy | April 17, 2009

An Introduction…

I first moved to India one and a half years ago wanting to work within the development field. For a recent graduate it’s a fantastic place to gain experience and offers a wide variety of social causes to join. Work here is not without its challenges, including often frustrating mazes of bureaucracy and adapting to different styles of working but in the end for me the rewards have far outweighed the difficulties.

At the beginning of March I began working for a project called “Help A Child” run by the Somaiya Trust and based out of Mumbai. It was a new and exciting position for me, a management role that would require a combination of field and office work, development, advocacy, fundraising and administration.

Help A Child provides educational scholarships to meritorious students from poor families who have successfully passed the 10th grade. In order to be eligible for the scholarships the students need to have scored more than 70% and interviews and house visits are carried out in order to ascertain the family’s level of poverty. The organization began in 2002 with just two students sponsored… since then they have sponsored more than 560. In 2008 alone, 371 students were sponsored. We’re hoping that this year we’ll be able to reach 500 and expand the program from there.

We currently work in two states of India, Karnataka and Maharastra with the majority of students coming from the North of Karnataka. Since joining I have been fortunate to meet many of the students and their stories are amazing. I think back to my own high school and university days and can’t believe how much they have had to struggle merely to gain an education.

Through the blog I would like to tell the stories of some of our students, talk about the experience of working with a charity in India and keep everybody updated with our progress and our attempts to reach out to more students in terms of both numbers and geographical locations.

For now it’s very much under construction! The next post will hopefully happen soon, if anybody has a request for topics they would like to read about then feel free to email me at andrea@somaiya.com

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