Pay It Forward: Two NGOs Bringing Education To Underprivileged Children

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Street children! Sympathy and compassion is what will immediately come to one’s mind when seeing them roam the streets of our city in the most deprived state. Hungry, naked, uneducated, these children are made to beg for money in order to live. But have you thought of helping to change their scenario? Or do you still shush away the beggars who come chasing after you? You must have already read about Professor Sandeep Desai who ‘begs’ for alms in Mumbai locals to help educate street children and Samatol Foundation when we covered them on MumbaiMag earlier. Today, we present two other organisations that have made education for street children their prime aim.

Kids at one of the centres

Angel Xpress Foundation
A unique non-profit organisation, Angel Xpress Foundation works for the progress of underprivileged children. It makes education accessible to street children by setting up schools on the streets. Their learning centres operate in public parks and promenades, making school equal to home. It also functions as a platform where volunteers and donors can meet deprived children and share their resources directly with them. One can contribute by sharing their time and teaching the children.

Through this organisation, free tutoring in English and Maths can be provided to these kids along with art, crafts, grooming, values and more. Ms. Anubha Sharma, founder of Angel Xpress Foundation says, “It started in early 2012 when I was on a break from my career and I was looking for an opportunity to contribute. I volunteered at a street school and cooked for kids which was when I got convinced that I could do more and hence I started this initiative. I found many people with similar views and want for contribution. Many wanted to help but they just didn’t know where to start from. I got myself entirely involved into this and began with Facebook where one post generated plenty help. Beenaa Advani, one of the respondents is now a co-founder. Till now, our journey with these children has been worth it.”

A volunteer teaching Kids

Angel Xpress Foundation currently has three centres in Bandra, Santacruz and Colaba and they hope to expand in the future in order to cover around 1000 children a year. The foundation is progressing as they have more than 250 students coming to their Santacruz branch at Rajesh Khanna garden and around 70 to 80 at Bandra. At colaba, which is a new centre, they have around 40 kids but they’re hoping for more. Anubha adds, “We go to slums from around the area and ask kids to come to study. Most of the children are from BMC schools and we found that even though they are registered in a school, they can’t read. Hence, our volunteers strive hard to make them read and write. When it comes to volunteers, we have plenty of help from retired people, homemakers and other people who cook and donate food to these kids. We even reward them by taking them out when they perform well which is an incentive for each one of them to concentrate on what is being taught. I believe a lot of good can flow from one to another when kids are taught and it’s great to see help pouring from all sides.”
Get Involved
Sponsor: You can sponsor a child’s tuition at Rs. 5500 per year per child (Rs. 450 a month), and contribute towards setting up 10 centers that are planned. You can also sponsor a trip for any child to Essel World or any other fun place for them to have a new experience. If not this, then sponsor a snack for a day or week.
Spare your time: Teach English, Maths, art, craft, dance, drama or any subject you would like. Drop in at one of the centres and impart your knowledge.
Donate: Old things that are in good conditions can be donated to these kids like clothes, toys, books, etc. For more information you can visit their Facebook page or call Anubha Sharma on 99300 70086 or Beenaa Advani on 98202 44562, or simply drop by during the work hours at one of their centers.
Centers: •Bandra Bandstand Promenade (Mannat end) • Raheja Gardens, Rajesh Khanna Park, Santacruz West • Colaba Woods 

Light of Life Trust (LOLT)
As the name suggests, this organisation brings light to children in the rural parts of Maharashtra and makes a huge difference through education. Through a unique initiative called ‘Anando’, this trust connects urban and rural children via a choice to help and education. This project launched in 2005. Ms. Villy Doctor, founder trustee of Light of Life Trust says, “This idea of getting urban kids to help rural kids came to me one day while talking to some urban school kids in Mumbai. One of them came up with this brilliant idea that we kids in the city have our little piggy banks and collect money for the poor people, why can’t we share this with the village kids. He proposed this to his mother and opted to share this idea with his friends. It was this openness, sharing and willingness from the child, the joy he experienced; it was like a wow experience for him. This made us at LOLT sit back and think about this innovative scheme of each urban child helping a rural child to complete education.”

Dance by Alibaug Children

It takes Rs 8400 to educate a rural child for a year, making it approximately Rs 20 a day. The understanding between the urban child and parent is that he pays 50% of the total amount from his pocket money and the parent pays the other 50% i.e. the urban child pays only Rs 10 a day and the parent pays the equal amount. The parent usually donates the entire amount to LOLT before reaching this understanding with the child. In this manner, urban children are encouraged to support their less privileged rural brethren at a young age. This makes them feel socially useful and helps them become better human beings.

This project has proved to be very successful as it has spread to 35 centres in 325 villages and hamlets of 5 districts of Maharashtra, with about 3500 children. Around 100 Anando children have joined different colleges and ITI’s (Industrial Technological Institutes) in 2008. In 2009, 141 children joined different colleges and ITI’s. Summing up the need and importance of education, Ms. Villy adds, “Education has become vital for survival and growth of the country. Education also has to be imparted at different levels so that an all-round personality development can be created. We at Anando believe in developing all the potentials and aptitude of a child beside the academic curriculum. We have music, sports, fine arts, value education, leadership training, vocational training and learning through experimentation and project work. Education is a major need in rural India and that the school dropout rate at the secondary education level has to be handled.”
Get Involved
Volunteer: Give your time and volunteer by teaching the children.
Donate: Be generous to kids who don’t have all benefits and donate.
Spread the word: Generate awareness about LOLT is to contribute your experiences with or thoughts on our projects. You can mail them at [email protected] For more information visit www.lolt.in

Know of other NGOs doing good work in the city? Share with us!

Post By Syrah (76 Posts)

Always curious, writing was something she discovered accidentally which she now enjoys. Loves reading fiction, dislikes staying idle and enjoys spontaneous trips or treks over weekends.

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Syrah

Syrah
Always curious, writing was something she discovered accidentally which she now enjoys. Loves reading fiction, dislikes staying idle and enjoys spontaneous trips or treks over weekends.
  • Asha Bhardwaj

    Very inspirational story ,Very nice and good work these N .G ,O ,s are doing

  • Rajat Mittal

    Please update the facebook page link to: https://www.facebook.com/AngelXpressFoundation it currently does not work correctly.