In order to protect the identity and privacy of the persons involved, all names have been changed.
India has the world’s largest youth population — nearly 28 percent of Indians fall within the age group of 10 to 24 years.
If we are serious about ending poverty then providing affordable credit to the working demographic must be paired with affordable education for youth from low-income communities.
We are grateful that our community of 11,000+ lenders has contributed to the education loans of school children in Manipur, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh alongside undergraduate students in rural Madhya Pradesh.
In July 2016, we began work on another front — supporting the educational aspirations of children from shelter homes in Bangalore.
Many of these children hail from broken homes and some of them have known no other family other than their caretakers and fellow children.
Our impact partner Guardians of Dreams made a Rs 16 lakh loan request so that they could provide scholastic awards to children who did well despite their difficult upbringing.
We recently met some of the children who won these scholarships.
At a home for students in Sheshadripuram (established in 1932, the foundation stone was laid by Mahatma Gandhi), we met Ashok who grew up at the home from the age of ten under the nurture and care of the headmaster, an alumni of the shelter. Currently a class eleven student, Ashok studies commerce and is also interested in computer science.
‘’Computer science is my favourite subject and I am keen on pursuing a career in this field,’’ he told us. His score of 72 percent in class ten made him eligible for a scholastic award and the crowdfunded money has been put to use towards his tuition fee.
At the same home, we also met Vinay who is pursuing a degree in commerce. His father is a construction labourer who could not pay Vinay’s college fees. The scholastic award from Guardians of Dreams helped him meet a part of his college expenses.
One of the key challenges that these children face is to adapt to a medium of instruction in English after having completed primary and high school in Kannada. When Vinay spoke of the Mahabharatha, Shakespeare and Sherlock Holmes as some of his favourite reads, it was evident that he had worked hard to overcome this challenge.
Fifteen minutes later in a different home, we were walking amidst boys enjoying a round of cricket under lofty mango trees.
Harish hailed from a small village near Yadgir in north Karnataka and hasa lived in the shelter for the last six years. Before he joined the home as a class seven student, he drifted between a school and a farm. Now that being a distant memory, he focuses most of his energy into completing his course at ITI.
Eight friends joined together in 1996 to work for at-risk-children. These eight families ensure 46 children get shelter, education and an important sense of family. Given that these children come from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds, they need a place they can call home.
Bangalore is home for George who had to leave Manipur behind as a five year old boy. He is now a die-hard Bengaluru FC fan.
He received a scholarship and paid for college where he is a commerce student in class 11.
‘’Many people don’t get the facilities but still deserve to study because freedom of education is given to everyone,’’ he told us.
While George is talented in football, Prarthana, 16, has represented Karnataka at many national level 200 metre track races. A class 11 student, her course is also supported partly by the scholarship made possible by 160 contributors to Guardians of Dream’s education loan.
These are just some of the stories of the many that were made possible through the generosity of an online community of lenders, the hard work by our Impact partner and, most importantly, the outstanding work put in by the caretakers of the homes who ensure that friendships are cultivated among the children and their character development is given as much importance as the provision of education, health and nutrition.
Ensuring the education of children from low-income communities may be a long-drawn journey but it can be made easier with your support. Do join our social investor community that believes in the future of these children and help us provide affordable education loans.
Members from the Impact, Communication and Empathy teams at Rang De visited a few shelter homes associated with Guardians of Dreams. We regularly carry out field trips to ensure that Rang De loans are making the desired impact on the poor communities we seek to empower. You can see the upcoming field trips on our field trip calendar and join us or you can sign up for audio evaluations by filling up the form here.
Guardians of Dreams will also return over the course of the year to make additional loan requests in order to continue the Scholastic Awards project.
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To comply with RBI regulations, Rang De’s lending operations are moving from rangde.org to our brand new platform rangde.in. Visit rangde.in to continue social investing.