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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Is the Indian Railways hoarding seats under the tatkal scheme to earn more revenue, enriching agents and touts in the process?
It seems that the Indian Railways (IR) has found a novel idea of earning more money. While passengers complain that wait-list tickets remain unconfirmed, tatkal booking which provides for booking at short notice is being given preference.
Under the tatkal scheme, a passenger is required to pay some extra money, over and above the regular fare, which helps in collecting more revenues for the railways. According to information on the website of Indian Railways, the maximum tatkal charges range between Rs150 and Rs300, depending on the class of travel-from second (sitting) up to executive class.
The question is should tatkal bookings be given preference over the regular reservation system which requires passengers to make bookings months in advance?
Moneylife has consistently maintained that the current tatkal system is being gamed by touts and agents and that all the seats vanish, no sooner the tatkal reservation window is opned. Therefore, travellers are unable to book the tickets on their own and they have to depend on these agents who charge higher rates and a commission.
Rakesh Agrawal, a Pune-based passenger, who failed to get confirmed tickets despite trying to book early on a Pune-Hyderabad train in June 2010, was shocked to discover that several passengers had been given preference under tatkal, whereas he was left with unconfirmed tickets and could not make the journey. "I had a waiting list number 2, 3 at the same time that another passenger applying through the tatkal scheme was also on waiting list number 2, 3. But he got the seat and I didn't," says Mr Agarwal.
Mr Agarwal told Moneylife that the train from Borivali to Jaipur (named Dee Garibrath, no-12216) has more seats set aside under tatkal than under the general quota. According to information available, the train scheduled on 24 April 2011 has 421 seats (Class 3A) under the tatkal quota, whereas there is already a wait-list of 129 people (WL 177/WL 129) under the general quota for Class 3A reservation on this train. The ratio of seats and wait-list is similar for the services operated on other days of the week also.
Following this unpleasant experience, Mr Agarwal tried to seek an explanation about the allocation of seats under the different quotas from the Railway Board, under the Right to Information Act. "In its reply, the Railway Board simply stated that tatkal waiting list passengers are given preference for allotment," he said.
Moneylife spoke to V Malegaonkar, chief public relations officer of Central Railway about the seat allocation under the tatkal scheme. Mr Malegaonkar explained, "It is quite possible that there would be more coaches for tatkal reservation under various denominations, depending on the popularity of the train. But generally we have one or two coaches under the tatkal scheme."
Passengers like Mr Agarwal who pre-plan their journey, complain that due to the tatkal scheme, regular travellers who book in advance are losing out on seats.
"People buy train tickets well in advance-15 to 20 days or a month before the journey date. Indian Railways issues tickets even 90 days in advance. But what is the use of standing in long queues for hours together to buy a ticket when one cannot be certain about confirmation. But people buying tatkal tickets just two days before the journey shelling out extra amounts are getting confirmed tickets. I condemn this system whereby 25% of the seats are allocated to the tatkal scheme leading to problems for people buying general quota tickets," reads a comment on a consumer complaints website.
Under the tatkal scheme booking opens at 8am, two days before the actual date of the journey. Even under this scheme, people complain that most of the time they are unable to book tickets due to some error that occurs on the website of the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC), which suggests that the system is gamed.
Moneylife has written earlier, how the travel website makemytrip.com had advertised that it is the 'fastest' channel for booking tatkal tickets, even as IRCTC's website provides the same facility. (Read, 'Can makemytrip.com make its customer's day?')
Moneylife is in the process of finding out how many trains block a higher number of seats for the tatkal scheme over and above the seats available on the regular reservation system that is accessed by most travellers. If you have details, or an experience to share, post your comments in the space provided at the end of this story.