This is because 0.4 million children have dropped out of school, and 0.6 million have never been to school at all. Our time working with municipal schools in Mumbai and Thane helped us realize that, of the many reasons responsible for these alarming figures, financial hardship is one that surely cannot be ignored.
Urjayati is an independent initiative to financially sponsor such kids so that they can go back to school, and to mentor them so that they don't drop out. We started out with slum kids in Mumbai, and are gradually taking on kids from other places like Delhi and Kolkata, on a need-basis.
If you are wondering how we are different from other organizations who do this type of work – we don’t aim to BE different, we aim to MAKE a difference to the lives of the children, to whom others have not been able to reach out yet.
Who are we?
Project Urjayati is an independent initiative by three Gandhi Fellows. We are three women in our mid-twenties who, till a few years back, were immersed in college degrees, foreign exchange programs and corporate jobs with MNCs.
From 2014 though, we spent two years working with 32 municipal schools and their surrounding slums in Mumbai and Thane, with the NGO Kaivalya Education Foundation.
We have each spent a month living in the slums of Mumbai with the children we work for.
We have also spent a month each working at labour jobs with the parents of these children.
All of this, so that we could understand their problems and help in our own small way.
And so, Project Urjayati was started.
What do we do?
In our experience with kids from the municipal schools and slums in Mumbai, we noticed that many children from low-income families drop-out of school. Or don’t go at all. Or try to manage work and school together and compromise on their education.
Often they are in this position because they have to work to support their families. Or look after a sick relative or younger sibling while the parents are at work. Or simply because they cannot even afford the monthly transport cost if the school is far away.
We work to bring such kids back to school, and keep them there till they finish their education up to Class 10, at least.
We do this in two ways:
By funding the kids, to overcome the financial constraints due to which they are having to compromise on their basic education.
By mentoring kids, one-to-one, to help them cope with going back to school and staying there without getting demotivated.
How can you help us?
As a Donor
You can choose to make a one-time donation or periodic donations to Project Urjayati. You can pick a specific child you want to fully or partially sponsor, or you can just donate to the corpus if you can’t decide which child to pick - and we will allocate your funds as per the need of the children.
Every little bit helps. You would be surprised to know that some children are missing out on education because their family can’t afford the INR 160 per month that they have to pay for a bus pass to take the child to school from a remote area.
As a Mentor
As a mentor, you will have to offer one-to-one mentoring to the child at least twice a month, and keep tabs on their progress in school, ensuring that they are not being funded in vain. Drop out kids who go back to school get demotivated at times, and tend to drop out again. Your role will be to help them get out of that rut. We will support you with ideas and activities for the mentoring process.
Spread the word
You can help us reach out to people you think might be interested.