HomeEqualityChildrenFeatured Organization: Asha for Education

Featured Organization: Asha for Education

In a few short sentences, what does your non-profit do?

Asha for Education is a fully volunteer-run, very low overhead organization working towards socio-economic change in India through the education of under-privileged children. We have 40+ chapters in the USA with sister organizations in Canada, Europe and India – all volunteers who spend their time and effort in various aspects of over 200 projects which we support annually across the length and breadth of India. Volunteers raise funds and awareness towards our project partners, work with them on identifying and overcoming difficulties in their projects and network organizations with others working towards a similar goal.

What need do you fulfill and why is your organization unique?

Asha fulfills a variety of needs for various groups –

  1. As a fundraising partner, Asha identifies and promotes grass-roots organizations working in India with operational support, global visibility and lends credibility to these NGOs to reach out to other large-scale grant makers.
  2. As an incubator of project ideas, Asha supports pilot programs from new organizations – many of which have scaled to sustainable efforts. Asha does not follow an ‘one-size fits all’ approach – but listens to the project partner who has a much deeper understanding of the ground realities to support their solutions.
  3. As a partner to organizations above, Asha provides volunteers who reside away from India a forum to deeply understand the issues around education and socio-economic inequality in India, connect with others who are passionate about these issues and work directly with partners to tackle the issues.
  4. As a 501(c)(3) organization supporting projects in India, Asha enables donors to make tax-exempt donations in the US and see the impact of their funds halfway across the world.

What do you think was the happiest moment for your organization?

We have had many to name. But the most recent ones have to be that Mr. Kailash Satyarthiji was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. Asha for Education has the honor and privilege to support Bal Ashram Trust – a rehabilitation center for rescued child laborers established by Kailashji’s ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ – through our Dallas chapter since 2006. For the organization, Asha for Education was awarded the ‘Best Indian NGO in the US‘ Award in 2013 by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.

What was/is the largest obstacle your organization faced/faces?

As a fully volunteer-run organization, the biggest problem we face is usually volunteer turnover. We are fully dependent on volunteers for fundraising, project support and monitoring, visiting projects in India to provide feedback, identifying and implementing improvements in projects; as well as administrative tasks such as book-keeping, web infrastructure maintenance and public relations.

What are the future plans for your organization?

We plan to empower all individuals interested in socio-economic change to work towards that cause through Asha by providing them the right networks, the right information and the community support to bring about real change. We aim to provide a valuable network for NGOs working on the ground to connect with one another to mutually learn and grow.

How can our readers help you further your mission?

Your readers who are passionate about education in India can join us to work with us towards our mission of socio-economic change. If there are no chapters near their locale, they can volunteer to start a new chapter. If they have identified a NGO in India they want to work with, they can become an ‘Asha Star’ and fundraise for that project without having to worry about any administrative hassles. If they are in India or planning to visit, they can contact us to visit any of our 200+ projects to provide us their insights and feedback. They can even intern at our projects for an extended time – previous interns have taken on everything from administrative tasks to teaching. They can lend us their expertise in web design, editorial work or graphics design by interning with our coordination team. They can run or bike for our cause by training with Team Asha. They can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Youtube, Google+ or subscribe to our blog. They can use our ‘Registry of Hope‘ to celebrate their special personal moments and achievements. If nothing else, they can support us with a fully tax deductible financial donation as well.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Many people think that the only thing that they can do remotely is financial help. But, in an increasingly connected world, you can help foster in change even when you are halfway around the world. Come and join us to find out!

Any recent articles, videos, or information that would help us learn more about you?

This video is a short introduction to Asha.  You can find more information about us on our website.

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