POOJA VISHWAKARMA

BAL MANCH * RED BRIGADE TRUST, LUCKNOW, INDIA

“The children are innocent and our future neighbors. How could we not help them grow up in peace and joy?”

Pooja runs a micro school in her poor district of Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, a hard turf in Northwestern India.

With her small charitable organization Bal Manch, she organizes educational and cultural programs for poor children, eco-social campaigns and seeks to add youth leadership programs for “her” kids and youth at schools, also to team up to solve local problems.

She is also a self-defense trainer with the famous Red Brigade Trust that has taught 45,000+ girls self-defense against sexual assault.

And she has got 24,000 poor children into private schools by informing the people on a new law. Simple, but one has to do it. You can learn the details in Pooja’s story below, and how you can help her bring 10,000’s more kids into school. 

Pooja’s vibrant initiatives offer inspiration for what all of us can do for street children and swift opportunities to get involved, via internet, with funds, in-kind supports, visits and more.

TOPICS

voluntary support programs for children in poverty

Bal Manch

Red Brigade Trust

RTE Act

PREPARATION

Think about ...

… how limited your life would be if you could not read and write. Consider orientation in your city, the difference of information intake from books and tv, the usage of the internet, interaction with administration, the scope of professions… 

… what this means in poor neighborhoods, where people live of unlearned day labor, unable to have a contract to earn more than one dollar a day.

… what it means for girls in a society where many call them a burden and expensive, and marry them away early to someone who picks her because she is useful … not because he loves her, because of common dreams and plans, and not because she loves him or that future.

Pooja got 24,000 poor kids into private schools

… children who could otherwise not have afforded school attendance and would have been forced to a life in abject poverty, forced marriage, dependency, day labor and abuse.

Her big magic trick is to inform slum dwellers on a new national law, the Right To Education RTE Act, that obliges private schools to reserve 10% of their spaces for free to poor children.

The problem is, the poor don’t know, neither schools nor local government inform them, so Pooja goes from door to door and delighted parents send their children in flocks to private schools; many public schools, by the way have 60 students per class, which is not exactly a favorable learning seeting. 

The schools complained that the children did not even have shoes or stationery and that they could not possible provide this, too from their own funds. So, Pooja addressed the state ministry for education, who denied being responsible.

Next, she a addressed the ministry of family and child affairs who also rejected her request – and now she really raised hell (she is steeled in fiery protest with the Red Brigade confronting police over inaction to hunt child rapists and murderers) and the ministry caved in and since funds full equipment for kids from poor households.

This means, that Pooja gets kids into school fully funded

  • in school fees
  • in equipment

until graduation. 

Pooja sees considerable need for more RTE campaigning in nearby towns and will continue her RTE Campaign if she can afford to.

Her cost of living and travel is $200€ per month, that’s $2,400€ per year. Think of it, that’s $0.1€ to bring a child doomed to poverty for life into private school until graduation, fully equipped, to ensure a better life for their next 70+ years, affecting 10x as many family members and colleagues in life. For 10 cents a person. 

We want to help her by funding

  • her living expenses
  • additional programs for her kids, such as excursions to cultural and environmental landmarks
  • youth leadership programs

and what else you dream up together. 

ACTIONS

Frankly, for this cause, in a poor neighborhood, what matters is funds to continue and grow the initiatives.

You can use FUNdraising tricks for bigger impact.

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FOLLOW-UP

For sure, you can grow your support and evolve it to a partnership with video meetings with kids, with shipments to set up a library, a fablab, to pay visits, to coach skills you know … 

Connects great with

NAMASTE NEPAL

NAMASTE NEPAL

Student company for development, $40,000€ sponsor runs, Germany-Nepal

BABAR ALI

BABAR ALI

World’s Youngest Headmaster, India