Beyond Money
Noble ACT
Bengaluru-based Ashwini Charitable Trust strives to support underprivileged children—with education and empowerment—until they are employed
 
It was the year 2000 in Bengaluru. A group of women got together to educate nine underprivileged children and empower them to enter the mainstream after they finished their education. The kids were from the Ulsoor slums in Bengaluru. The children have done well and the group of women has now widened their network. 
 
On 15 December 2000, the activity was formalised by registering a trust named after the first child it sponsored—Ashwini. “The logo has the footprint of a little child to symbolise that all our giant leaps start off with small steps,” points out Sujatha Mukherjee, a senior activist-volunteer. Ashwini Charitable Trust (ACT) is still run by the women and, after 13 years, it has 170 children and over 70 dedicated volunteers supporting its activities. 
 
ACT sponsors hardworking and dedicated children from semi-government and government-aided private schools. Its volunteers network with educational institutions where the medium of instruction is English and are within a radius of a kilometre from the ACT’s resource centre. “Every year, heads of these institutions recommend needy and deserving children whom we interview and test before admitting them into the Trust. We are proud to have a long waiting list of children who want to join us. However, we deliberately restrict our numbers so that every child gets more effective intervention,” says Ms Mukherjee.
 
The Trust was formed with the sole objective of educating and empowering underprivileged girls. However, when a girl is sponsored in a particular year, ACT takes her sibling the next year, irrespective of the gender. Hence, ACT now has about 46 boys. ACT believes that this will help uplift an entire family.
 
The activities of ACT include education, healthcare, counselling and recreation. There are two novel aspects to ACT’s work with children: teaching for financial freedom and mentoring. 
 
“Makar Sankranti, 14 January 2005, was a landmark in the history of ACT. With the help for State Bank of India’s managers, we were able to start savings bank accounts for all our children with their mothers as their natural guardians,” says Ms Mukherjee proudly.
 
As regards mentoring, senior children of the Trust volunteer for two hours every week to coach the younger children. This gradually moulds them to be responsible leaders capable of making decisions and leading a young team. The younger children, who are motivated and inspired by the hard work of their seniors, consider the latter as their role models. Ms Mukherjee says, “They bond beautifully and create an extended family.”
 
It is interesting to look back at how the first two girls under ACT’s care have fared. Sowmia came to ACT in 2000 and was ready for a mainstream job only in 2009. Her father is a tailor and mother, a homemaker; she was the youngest of three children in the family. Her older siblings are high-school dropouts. Sowmia left ACT with a BCom degree and a job with HP (Hewlett Packard). Divya, daughter of a single parent, is the eldest of three siblings. Although she could not survive the academic grind, she trained to be a graphic designer and, currently, works with Indigo—a printer in Bengaluru.
 
Over the years, the success rate of ACT’s intervention has improved. In 2013-2014, Veneetha graduated from St Joseph’s College of Commerce with a first class in BCom. She is, currently, employed with Standard Chartered Bank as an operations officer.
 
If you would like to contribute to the cause of ACT, you can send a cheque/DD drawn in favour of: The Ashwini Charitable Trust payable at Bengaluru. All contributions are eligible for tax-exemption under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.
 

 

User

COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

1 year ago

I looked at the website after reading OSK's comment.

The site states clearly that it is an organization that teaches NGOs to raise funds here and abroad. It does not do any charitable work itself but helps others to raise funds for the charitable work.

Fundraising is big business. It requires skill and contacts. It can also cost a lot. Many charitable organizations spend as much as 60% of their income on raising funds.

In USA, Charity Navigator rates charitable organizations on how much is spent on fund raising, how much on administration, how transparent is the organization, how much is its top officer paid, etc. The website is http://www.charitynavigator.org/ The organization gives a rating based on this info and also points out other charitable organizations with a similar mission which have better ratings.

Now Indians have become affluent, become more aware of the deprivation around them and are more inclined to give to charitable organizations rather than just to their poor family members, caste associations or religious entities. We need an organization similar to Charity Navigator to help us give intelligently.

O S Kempawad

1 year ago

May be this ACT is genuine one.

There is another one in Jayanagar, Bengaluru. Its name is NGO Fundeaisers (http://www.ngofundraisers.com)

The person who is running it claims it is an NGO & he is doing a charitable work for the underprivileged.

But in reality it is nothing but a HITECH-BEGGING RACKET which the gentleman in question is doing in a most professional manner.

I have seen many elderly people coming and donating handsome amount of money thinking that, the gentleman in question spends that money for those needy people. No one tries to knows whether this man who has done MBA in CHEATING spends the donations for the intended purpose or not.

This great gentleman proclaims that he was head of MNC wherein there were 800 staff under him & he personally had 3 secretaries. But still left the job as some divine force guided him to quit and start this noble job.

No outsider will come to know about what this gentleman is doing. It is only when one gets inside, will come to know what is the real motive of this so called NGO!

So I think one has to be careful when donating their sweat money to such FAKE Charitable Trusts & the like.

Sensex: Does Jan-July Show the Year?
Of the 15 times the Sensex has been up in the January-July period, it has ended in the...
Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation
Falling Fundamentals, Higher Holding
Institutional investors are putting in money in sectors that are slowing down
 
The...
Premium Content
Monthly Digital Access

Subscribe

Already A Subscriber?
Login
Yearly Digital+Print Access

Subscribe

Moneylife Magazine Subscriber or MSSN member?
Login

Yearly Subscriber Login

Enter the mail id that you want to use & click on Go. We will send you a link to your email for verficiation

We are listening!

Solve the equation and enter in the Captcha field.
  Loading...
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email
Close

To continue


Please
Sign Up or Sign In
with

Email

BUY NOW

The Scam
24 Year Of The Scam: The Perennial Bestseller, reads like a Thriller!
Moneylife Magazine
Fiercely independent and pro-consumer information on personal finance
Stockletters in 3 Flavours
Outstanding research that beats mutual funds year after year
MAS: Complete Online Financial Advisory
(Includes Moneylife Magazine and Lion Stockletter)