As you are aware, one of the key initiatives that we are planning to launch in 2015 is the Team Everest ‘Smile 100’ initiative.
The idea behind this initiative is to provide best of the best education to the poorest of the poor in our country (India).
We strongly believe that ‘Quality Education’ is really a game changer. It empowers and help a person to stand on his own legs. They can be out of poverty. Not just that. Now they have the power to change the world around him. With better knowledge, you create a better world.
If you are reading this blog post, I can assure that you are one among the elite crowd – ‘Educated’. The basic foundation among us would be a good sound ‘Education’. Not many in the same world are as privileged as you and me. Hence, we decided to gift quality ‘Education’ to those who could not afford it.
I believe that ‘Education’ is a ‘Magic’.
It just does not changes a person’s life. It changes the life of the entire family, in fact their entire generation.
I still remember the story which my mom use to tell me. This is a story happened in early 1930s in India. My grandfather (Mom’s Dad) use to study well. He studied up to 5th standard and for his next class, he needs to go to another school which is 2 Kms away and had a yearly fees of Re 1 per year (Re 1 is very huge in those days. Imagine, that you can by a shirt with Re 1 🙂 ).
My great grandfather who under estimated the power of Education, told my grandfather that he is not ready to pay Re 1 and there is no need to walk 2kms a day to study further. My depressed grandfather discontinued his studies and started selling Sarees along with his father (My Great Grand father). He had a fire in his belly at that time. He decided that when he gets married and have kids, he will give education to them. That’s how my mom completed Masted in Education (M.Ed) and worked as a Govt school teacher. In later years she worked as a School Principal in a small Government school in a village in Tamilnadu.
When I was a kid, she use to tell me this story ‘n’ number of times. She use to tell me that because her father educated her, she is putting me in school now. Looking back at it, whatever I got today is because of the education I received. It was my foundation. Without it, I would not have reached where I’m today.
With Education, I have the power to choose what I want. Without it, I’m nothing.
That’s why I told that ‘Education’ not only changes one person. It changes an entire generation. Nothing can replace ‘Education’. That’s why I call it a ‘Magic’.
So, what are we planning to do through ‘Smile 100’ initiative? Let me explain this initiative through a Question and Answer model:
We are planning to adopt 100 parentless kids and Single parented kids mostly from age group less than 10 and support them for their education till they complete college (Or atleast the schooling!).
Where these children are from?
All these 100 children would be from a place called ‘Arni’ in Tiruvannamalai Dt. It is just 150 Kms or 3 Hours drive from Chennai!
Why are we selecting children from same place?
We are selecting Children from the same place because we have many such deserving children there itself. Moreover, picking students from one place will help us run after school coaching classes where we can help the kids do their homework, help improve their other extra-curricular skills and help them become a better human being. We will miss those opportunities if the kids are scattered in a different place. The idea behind this initiative is not just providing scholarship for their educational support. We want to help create an atmosphere, where they can express themselves, experiment, identify and nurture their talents. We want to help them become good human beings who can grow up and create a ripple effect of goodness in the society.
On what basis the students are selected?
We have a detailed due diligence process involving 7 to 10 steps to select the right and deserving child for this initiative (I know that all kids are deserving. Unfortunately, our budget and bandwidth at this point of time can be used effectively for only 100 kids). Our basic criteria is to select a financially poor kid who have no parents or have a single parent with dreams to come up in life. By parentless, we mean that these kids are not from orphanage. They might be with their grandma or grandpa who struggles to pay the fees for the kid. Our kids group may even have school dropout kids or kids who are yet to go to school.
When will we know the students name and their details?
We have started the background process for student identification, school identification and sponsor identification. By May-2015, we will complete our back ground works and we will finalize the 100 kids who will be part of Smile 100. So we will reveal the students name and their details by May-2015. We are also working on a website to publish all the details of 100 kids. We are facing a shortage of technical assistance and the website plan might get delayed depending upon the amount of support we receive to build it as soon as possible.
What is the cost of sponsoring one student?
To be honest, we are actually yet to figure the actual amount. As of now, we have an average cost idea behind it. Out of 100 kids, we identified 1 kid last year and put him in schools for 6th standard. It costed us Rs 30,000 per year. So, we have taken Rs 30,000 as an average for a student per year. The actual cost for a student may be less or more. It depends up on which class and school the kid is going to study in. So, for 100 kids, we need Rs 30 Lakhs per year to educate them.
I find the cost per student is very high. Why don’t we put them in a cheaper school so that we can educate more children?
That was one of the idea we discussed during the start of this initiative. But, we had one question in front of us:
‘If I have a kid, which school will I choose to educate him?’.
Just try answering this question to yourself. Most of us would want to put our kids in best of the best schools so that our children can get more opportunities and excel in their lives. That’s the same idea behind Smile 100 as well. We want to give the best of the best education to these kids who could not afford such education even in their wildest of their dreams.
I would also like to recollect that we do not mean ‘Costlier’ means ‘Better’. We look for a school which can help the kid to become better and excel in their life. If there is a low cost school with much better learning experience, we will choose that school also for our Smile 100 kids. That’s why I have mentioned earlier that the cost per child will vary depending upon the school in which we admit the kid.
How about ‘Transparency’?
Whenever I speak with my friends, many of them have shown interest to adopt and support a child for their education. At the same time, they feel that NGO’s are not transparent enough. In most cases, they do not have enough trust with the NGO. It might be a truth or just a perception. That’s why when we decided to start this initiative, we thought that ‘Transparency’ should be the core and central part of this initiative.
We want to keep it as transparent as possible and want our donors to question us whenever they have slightest of the doubts in their minds. We would also like to invite the donors of Smile 100 initiative for an open audit every month so that we ensure greater transparency and maximum impact. Team Everest is just an organization connecting people and facilitates by creating an opportunity to connect the volunteers with the needy. Our core belief is ‘Of the People, by the People and for the people’.
We want our volunteers not just to be ‘Donors’. We want them to be a ‘Mentor’ to the child whom they sponsor. We want our donors to meet the child atleast once a month and guide them further. These kids will be just 150 kms away from Chennai and we could facilitate a visit to our donors in Chennai. If you are any where apart from Chennai, we would be glad to connect you with your kid through Skype, phone calls and updates through online. However, facilitating such options for each child and each donor would be time consuming and needs a lot of ground work.
Being a small NGO, we have little man power but a BIG dream. So, these options will be rolled out in a phased manner so that, on the long run, we have options for donors to collect with their kid any time.
Ideally, we want each donor to be connected with a child so that they know whom they are sponsoring and where their money is going. We will be able to enable this option once our website is ready.
If you have any other options to keep this initiative transparent, feel free to suggest us by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org
We want to show this world that there are still many NGO’s and people who are honest, transparent and making a deep impact in this world. And we wish to be one among them!
So, How do I contribute?
We recommend that you can be one of our Monthly donor and donate month on month. Minimum contribution amount is Rs 50. To join as a monthly donor, register at www.bit.ly/everestsmile100
If you want to make a onetime contribution of Rs 1000 and more, you can do that as well. You can register here for the same – www.bit.ly/everestsmile100
Feel free to write us at email@example.com for any other queries or support for this initiative. You can also call our Everest help desk number at +91 8939912365 to talk about this initiative.
Let us create 100 Smiles in 2015. Are you ready for it??
Thanks & Regards,
Team Everest – First Volunteer and Founder