Educational Sponsorship

the Urban Area :

IAPA started its Sponsorship Programme with the conviction that education and equal opportunities are the keys for children to overcome deprivation and the cycle of poverty. A considerable population in Mumbai work as poorly paid domestic workers, labourers, tiffin carriers, cleaners, vendors and the like. Their children face various challenges in equipping themselves for a better future. Many of them are first generation learners whose parents are unable to provide them much support, as they are themselves struggling to earn a livelihood. Education is at times brought to an abrupt end, when these children are required to look after the household or start working to supplement the family income. However, with appropriate interventions under the Sponsorship Programme, a number of such children from the Municipal Wards 'A' to 'E', have been able to pursue their aspirations against all odds.

Initiated in one BMC School in 1995, and later in a village school, IAPA's sponsorship programme now covers almost 600 students in BMC Wards 'A' to 'E' and in the village school. Though academic education is a major part of the programme, it also seeks the holistic development of children by attending to their emotional, recreational and health needs. Apart from the financial support, regular counselling, guidance and social inputs, assist the child to cope with and continue education. By building a relationship of trust with the family, we improve parental support which is crucial for the child's growth. The overall progress of the child is followed up through regular contact, including home and school visits, as called for. Our free Supportive Services help in strengthening the child's physical and psychological well-being; as well as the family's income generation capacities. As the child moves to higher classes, additional support for coaching class, college fees and professional courses is facilitated through networking.

Although the programme was started with the aim of curbing dropout rate, students are enabled not only to successfully complete their Board examinations, but also to attain professional or vocational qualifications which have transformed their life prospects. Our proud achievers include those who have completed CA, MBA, Engineering and IT degrees and are now working in good and well-paying organizations. Similarly in the village school, there has been a progressive increase in the number of students joining the school and in work with the community as a whole. The sponsorship programme thus facilitates education and all round development, for children who lack support and opportunities for reaching their full potential.

The Process:

Career Guidance is provided by the social workers, as well as by experts in the field, at crucial junctures in the academic journey of the students.

The Annual Sponsorship Day, a much awaited event, provides a platform for the students to showcase their talents, be felicitated for their achievements and enjoy a fun-filled day with various entertaining programs.

the Rural Area :

In 2003, IAPA extended the sponsorship programme to a secondary school in Dapoli Taluka of Ratnagiri District, with the support of long standing collaborators and individual donors. This school run by the local people under the Shivneri Shikshan Sanstha Trust is the only secondary school catering to students from five remote villages. Much needed support has been provided to enhance their amenities, raise the standard of education, furnish class rooms, set up a library and Science laboratory. Sponsorship support is made available to students from Std. VIII to X and student achievers are felicitated for their academic achievements.

Those aspiring higher education and vocational training beyond Std. X are also provided support. Assistance is provided in procuring text books, uniforms and educational materials for the students. Various activities are organised for improving the health and capacities of the children, including health camps and career guidance sessions.

Year after year, school drop-out has reduced, performance in Std X board exams has been impressive and number of students aspiring for High School education has increased. Support is now providedby a number of individual sponsors for Graduation, Diploma, ITI and Vocational Training courses. Recognizing the need to equip girls to stand on their own feet, a Life Skills programme was started in 2014. A locally based, professional social worker holds sessions with adolescent girls and women on topics related to self, nutrition, health and hygiene. With a view to promoting the self development, confidence and skills of the girls, camps are held wherein interesting sessions on empowering subjects are taken up. Help is extended for vocational courses to acquire skills in tailoring, beautician, nursing and computer literacy. A fast trend is emerging, pushing up the age of marriage and the most encouraging outcome is the parents' recognition of the importance to equip girls to be self-sufficient.