“Perhaps the greatest tragedy of these children would be not getting a formal education. Given an opportunity of taking higher education, these children could develop skills which would enable them to break the vicious cycle of poverty, ill health and social stigma.”
– Manavya Org (An NGO caring for HIV Positive Children in Pune, Maharasthra)
Of the 2.5 Million people affected (and registered) with the HIV/Aids virus in India, 220,000 of them are children. India has seen a significant decrease in the amount of AIDs infections for adults, however the statistic of children carrying the virus has doubled in the past 10 years. The virus is most commonly passed from mother to child with factors including high level of labor migration in India, low literacy rates, lack of health awareness, intravenous drug use & the use of commercial sex workers in certain urban regions. After transmission these children are often denied their fundamental rights & receive very little care or support from their communities.
Ok fine, now you know a few alarming statistics, but what can WE do? Until HIV/Aids research finds a cure, it really is essential that education be the number one preventative measure to lesson the transmission & impact of HIV/Aids to all (with specific importance for children & young adults).
We’ve shared our journey of meeting the inspiring people behind Rays Home for HIV Positive Children & the success of our Dream Big Project. And now we want to do more to eradicate the cycle of stigma & discrimination surrounding HIV/Aids in local communities. We want to do more to empower the children at Rays to believe in their potential, to become skilled & passionate, & to integrate into mainstream society, showing the world what they are capable of. And our big dream is to increase the quality & capacity of care available to children with HIV in India & globally.
So this summer, after many negotiations with the team at Rays, we agreed our next Compassion Project would be related to something we’ve always advocated for – EDUCATION! The School Scholars Project we’ll be sponsoring the tuition, books, bags, stationary & uniforms for the 54 children at Rays, who have stolen our hearts.
Goal Amount: $13,660
***NOTE: We have already reached $11,634 (85% fulfilled) in funds for this project, largely in thanks to our main sponsor Ramki Heating.
Hindi Medium Tuition = $164.00 each x 40 Students = $6,560.00
English Medium Tuition = $207.00 each x 12 Students = $2,484.00
11th Standard (Kamal) x 1 Student = $548.00
Preschool (Kushi) x 1 Student = $234.00
Uniforms, Books, Stationary, Backpacks = $71.00 x 54 Students = $3,834.00
Government Education in India is a far far cry from quality, which we discovered first hand during our Lambs for Literacy Project. So it is detrimental to the future of these children that they attend private schools. Now a private school in India isn’t the fancy, expensive, privileged phenomenon it is in the west. It is standard level education, providing basic knowledge, courses & only occasionally additional opportunities in arts, sport, computers, etc.
The children at Rays are encouraged to attend school or training in areas which they show potential & are offered educational opportunities where they will succeed. Many of the children are in classes lower than average & some older children will remain in Hindi Medium schools rather than english because they’ve come from the villages & haven’t been exposed to the english language or any formal education at all.
These are the little stunners we’re supporting…all 55 of them are at the heart of what we due.
*** Our friend little Kalu isn’t able to attend school due to health issues.
- High quality education, skills training, & exposure to opportunities ensures the children will become self-sufficient
contributing members of society upon leaving rays as young adults.
- Providing a huge financial relief by means of Tuition & associated fees allows the team at Rays to put their limited resources to other use for such items as housing maintenance, medicine, food & nutrition, worker salaries, social activities & group outings.
- The children can build confidence, self-love, & valuable leadership skills to be shining examples in their communities of what is possible for ANY child given the proper encouragement & tools.
June 2016: Project Launch
June – December 1st: Fundraising Iniatives including Ramki Heating regular contributions, Ramki Family Fun Day, Nicli’s Pizzeria Feature Charity, Tribe of Lambs Summer Send Off, Kabam Vancouver Fundraiser Night. And of course the proceeds from the sale of our jewelry!
Sept 15th – Over half the goal reached
Nov.1st 2016 – Winter Semester Starts
April 1st – Summer Semester Starts
Because Tuition is paid bi-monthly, it is our goal to have the funds in place to pay Winter Monthly Semester Fees by Nov.1st & Summer Monthly Fees by Feb. 1st
We’ve almost reached our goal…with only $2000.00 to go.