2 de juny 2010

Shanti Bhavan - Project 40x50 (English translation)

This is probably the most important post I’ve ever written during the two and a half years I have been editing this blog. So if you've read this far, I ask you to read it fully.

I say that is important because it may help to change somebody's life. As some of you know, in Shanti Bhavan ―the school in South India with which I have been collaborating since 2005―, the first batch of students is about to graduate this June.

They are eight girls and seven boys who entered the school 13 years ago at the age of 4 years. All of them come from families below the poverty line, and from the lowest castes. They will be the first members of their families to go to college. In fact, in many cases they were the first to receive formal education, because their parents are mostly illiterate.

The foundation that manages the project (The George Foundation) has limited resources, which are used almost entirely to maintain the residential school Shanti Bhavan. Of course, the kids’ parents are not in a position to financially support college tuition and expenses, so the foundation is looking for ways to get funds for colleges.

From this blog, I would like to start a personal initiative that I called Project 40x50, with the goal of finding 40 people willing to give $50, that is a total of $2000, the amount required (approx.) to pay tuition fees, accommodation, meals, study materials, clothing and transportation for one of them throughout one year. It is, therefore, a kind of shared sponsorship, or if you prefer, a scholarship awarded from a group.

Here you have the annual expenses for the college education of one kid. The cost is approximate because it depends on the course, the residence, etc.

(1 USD ~ 47 Indian Rupees)

- Tuition: Rs: 50,000 and 1,00,000

- Hostel and food: Rs: 40,000 to Rs: 50,000

- Study material and personal expenses: Rs: 20,000 to Rs: 25,000

- Clothes, travel, medical, etc: Rs: 10,000 to Rs:15,000 (excluding donated items)

I know that a face and a story are often worth a thousand words, so I encourage you to fund the college expenses of Mahalakshmi, one of the girls graduating this year. She wants to study law because, as she says: “Law will give me the voice to defy the prevailing oppression and inequality alive in Indian communities”. You can read her personal statement here. Worth reading.

Apart from the simple satisfaction of helping someone to have a better future, those who participate will also receive information about Mahalakshmi’s progress.

If you would like to join this initiative please leave a comment on this post, or if you want to remain anonymous, send me an email (eduardm [at] gmail [dot] com). The easiest way to make the donation is through Network for Good. It’s a secure platform where the foundation is registered and can receive donations quickly and easily (by credit card or Paypal). To do it, please go to Mahalakshmi’s page and click on donate.

If you want to use a credit card but you are not from US you will have a problem, because the system will ask you to introduce a US phone and a US address. If you use Paypal there is no problem, so I highly recommend to use it (if you are not a user, the sign up process is really easy). If you have any problem please send me an email.

Please remember to write “Project 40x50, College-Mahalakshmi” in the designation field. This is important for the foundation to know the purpose of our donation. If you join this initiative do not forget to alert me (a comment on this post or an email) so I can keep count.

You have my permission to spread this initiative wherever you want, and actually I encourage you to do so.

Thank you!