Beyond Money
When one teaches two learn

Each One Teach One Charitable Foundation promotes education among underprivileged secondary school students, says Dolly Mirchandani

Established in 1983, Each One Teach One Charitable Foundation (EOTO) aims at creating opportunities for underprivileged children, mainly high school students in municipal and government-aided schools. The Foundation provides coaching to these students so that they can cope with their curriculum, thereby helping to reduce the number of dropouts. EOTO also provides these students uniforms, notebooks, stationery as well as nutritious snacks.

The origin of this effort goes back to 1983 when Jyoti Tanna, founder-trustee of EOTO, came across a few children wandering on the streets, instead of studying at school. She learnt from them that they didn’t have the basics, such as books, uniform and other necessities required to attend school. She decided to help them get back to school and was gratified at the positive impact it had. That very year, Ms Tanna got together other like-minded people to set up the EOTO to help underprivileged children studying in municipal schools to complete their education. EOTO has, over the years, reached out to over 8,000 students and is run by five committee members and seven trustees with the help of 40 staff members.

EOTO conducts surveys to select needy children from various municipal and trust-run schools. It identifies needy children with a financially weak background, or single-parent families. It also tries to help physically-challenged children who have just entered high school (8th Standard) and supports them for three years, until they finish school. The Foundation also provides computer education, conducts career-guidance programmes, personality-development workshops and offers scholarships. It organises extra-curricular activities such as yoga, karate, dance and sports, conducts health camps and annual picnics for children. In addition to helping children, the Foundation supports schools by conducting training programmes to help teachers upgrade their skills and avail of quality teaching aids.

EOTO is currently active in six municipal schools and three government-aided schools in Mumbai’s Sion, Andheri, Vile Parle, Ghatkopar, Charkop (Kandivli), Chunabhatti, Bhandup and Dadar. It also works in Palghar, Neral, Badlapur and Panchgani. It is active in some parts of Bengaluru as well.

Deepak Nagwanshi, EOTO’s manager-administration, says, “EOTO receives donations in the form of individual sponsorship, corporate funding and funding from trusts or other NGOs.” A sponsor can support a child by paying Rs10,000 annually for three years. It has also created packages for corporate support. For instance, corporates can support 50 children through secondary school, or can support the developmental activities of 500 children in primary and secondary schools. Donations made to EOTO are exempt under Section 80(G) of the Income-Tax Act. One can also make donations to the corpus fund. Interest earned on these funds goes towards supporting children. Some of EOTO’s Indian donors include Benchmark Computer Solutions, Mascot Engineering, Sujaya Foundation and Vulcan Industrial Engineering. International organisations include San Diego-based Kaivalya Mandiram Trust and Asha for Education (the Seattle chapter). Mr Nagwanshi says, “You can also become a volunteer for conducting academic and non-academic activities like coaching, career guidance, art & craft, etc, or you can provide employment opportunities to our ex-students.”

Mr Nagwanshi says, “By 2014, the Foundation plans to reach out to 40,000 children in urban as well as rural areas by conducting academic & developmental activities; it plans to extend its focus to younger children. To strengthen its ex-students’ association, we want to start a recruitment cell for ex-students. Many ex-students help the Foundation by way of money, time and talent.” You can help by volunteering or donating to the cause of children’s education.

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A catalyst for social change

Dasra works with philanthropists and social businesses to bring knowledge, funding and people to institutionalise social change in India. Dolly Mirchandani reports

When a New York-based venture capital firm decided to launch a $1-million project to strengthen the NGO sector in India, Deval Sanghavi was hired to manage the venture. This was India’s very first venture philanthropy fund that provided funding as well as non-financial support to charitable organisations. They selected eight NGOs—among them were Magic Bus, Villgro, Akshaya Patra and Anjali—for funding commitments for three years. These NGOs went on to become leaders in their respective fields.

The knowledge and experience Mr Sanghavi gained on this assignment helped him understand the scalability parameters of social work. Thus began Dasra, a foundation that works with philanthropists and NGOs to help them grow and strengthen their impact and outreach.

Dasra is now India’s leading strategic philanthropic foundation. It was founded in Mumbai in 1999 by Mr Sanghavi, formerly an investment banker at Morgan Stanley in US. Dasra helps philanthropists and social entrepreneurs connect with each other and provide NGOs with strategic and networking support.

“Traditionally in India, donations are generally given to individuals or religious institutions. There is mistrust for the large, ungoverned non-profit sector,” says Mr Sanghavi. “One of our major challenges is building trust and convincing philanthropists that by giving to good organisations they can help more people. Another challenge is persuading people to support NGOs to grow and improve their efficiency.” Donors often restrict their donations to programme costs and this can negatively impact the effectiveness of an organisation’s work. Dasra’s challenge is to ensure that funding is long term.

Mr Sanghavi believes that if philanthropists and social entrepreneurs get the required skills, support and networks, their efficiency and effectiveness can be enhanced. “The key task is to connect the right people, so that maximum social impact can be achieved which can then be scaled up using effective models,” he says. Before providing funding to an NGO, Dasra looks at how the NGO is managed. It also looks at the organisation’s plans, existing model and its long-term sustainable goals. Dasra has worked with a large number of NGOs like Aangan Trust, Magic Bus, Educate Girls, Mann Deshi, Prerana and Sabras.

Dasra is registered as a Section 25 company in India; they have a centre in the UK and the US as well. In India, it runs two key programmes: Dasra Social-Impact—an executive educational programme for NGOs—and Indian Philanthropy Forum (IPF)—a networking platform for philanthropists. An individual can be a part of Dasra by joining either of these or by joining the fellowship programme.

Dasra Social-Impact was launched in 2008. Thirty organisations were selected for the course that helps organisations to develop business and financial plans, funding strategies and ensure their implementation. IPF was launched in March 2010. Dasra provides IPF members with the latest information on NGOs and social businesses. The annual membership fee of IPF currently is Rs20,000 which will be increased to Rs50,000 starting March 2011. In October 2010, the first Dasra Giving Circle was launched which focused on urban education. Ten IPF members chose one NGO eligible for a grant of Rs3 crore over three years; 10% of this will be disbursed to Dasra each year for providing 250 days of management assistance to the organisations.

Members of Dasra’s Giving Circle are anonymous donors. Many are young professionals with successful careers looking to get involved in philanthropy at a relatively early age. Earlier, most of Dasra’s donors were philanthropists and overseas foundations. However, with the launch of IPF, many private and corporate donors have shown interest in Dasra. Donations to Dasra are exempt under Section 80G of the Income-Tax Act.

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Greenfield project for elders

The Nana Nani Foundation aims to improve the quality of life of senior citizens. Dolly Mirchandani looks at how its activities are progressing

Nana-nani parks (primarily for grandparents) were conceptualised a decade back by the late Pramod Navalkar, former culture minister of Maharashtra. But the idea was successfully executed by Shhyam Singhania, the founder & managing trustee of the Nana Nani Foundation (NNF). The Foundation has already made a difference to the life of Mumbai’s senior citizens by providing them green and serene—yet vibrant—spaces where they can meet with safety and dignity. A nana-nani park is open only for those who are above the age of 60; at least one spouse has to be a senior citizen.  

The first nana-nani park at Girgaum Chowpatty (Mumbai) was part of a bigger project to clean up the beach and rid it of anti-social elements and encroachments. Mr Singhania took up the beautification challenge; the park was inaugurated on 26 January 1998. It has turned into a quiet little oasis of relaxation for its members. Senior citizens can start the day with a walk around the beautiful garden and enjoy complimentary tea and free newspapers, before they go home. The popularity of these parks has been recognised now—18 such facilities have been set up all over Mumbai. However due to fund constraints, NNF is able to maintain only three parks on its own—the park at Girgaum Chowpatty along with the Aaji Aajoba Udyan and the Deendayal Upadhyay Udyan (both situated in Dadar, central Mumbai).

The facilities in these parks include yoga, exercises, laughter-therapy sessions, group discussions and related activities. Some even have space for medical check-ups, picnics and facilities for celebrating birthdays & other festivities. The Girgaum park is now developing a ‘Nakshatra Garden’, whose theme is the 27 constellations, each represented by a particular tree with a meditation spot under each of them. Meditating under the tree that represents your birth constellation is supposed to be beneficial. The project is scheduled to be completed by October 2011.

The Foundation has many projects lined up—including similar parks for senior citizens at Pune, Thane and Nashik. It is also coming up with a ‘virtual nana-nani park’, one of its most ambitious projects yet. This will help the Foundation to reach out to senior citizens via the Internet. Senior citizens will get access to these nana-nani parks via a free membership card issued by the Foundation after they provide proof of their identity, age and address. Members are also provided a medical card. A special membership card which will offer discounts at grocery stores, chemist shops, hospitals, shopping malls and tourism companies is also being planned. This project is expected to kick off in early 2012, after various strategic alliances are finalised, and after proper infrastructure is set up.

But all these activities will take some time—and effort—to be completed. According to Mr Singhania, convincing donors and raising funds is a major challenge for the Foundation. “Getting garden land approved from the (Brihanmumbai) Municipal Corporation and raising funds for development and maintenance is, indeed, the most difficult task for the Foundation.” The Foundation is always looking for volunteers and specialists who are willing to work for the elderly. NNF is also working on a legal cell for senior citizens; it has been in active touch with the heads of legal departments of various companies to carry forward this effort. Initially, NNF was privately funded by the Singhania family and companies of the Enarr group. But Dena Bank, Union Bank of India and Bank of India have come forward to aid this effort. Eureka Forbes is another supporter. NNF also raises funds through music concerts and cricket matches.

Donations to the Foundation are tax-exempt under Section 80 (G) of the Income-Tax Act. NNF has an excellent website with details telling you how to donate. You can also contact NNF if you want to volunteer in any way. 

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COMMENTS

nagesh kini

7 years ago

Pramod Nawalkar has done Mumbai's Ajji and Ajjoba great service by starting Parks for elders. At Mahim the Dhote Udyan opp. Hinduja Hosp/Bombay Scottish essentially a neighbourhood initiative is one of the best maintained recreation gardens catering not only to the elders, also to toddlers in the kiddies corner, soft surface walking-jogging tack for all, hard surface grass lined inner track for the elderly., a skating rink, wooded meditation areas, a sunset- sea link viewing sitting area free entry with a ramp for the challenged and prams. All are welcome between 5-10am and 4-9pm no eats or drinks and littering strictly no-no.

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