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Reaching Hand impacts 12465 children through quality education, health care and skill development
Likitha, who was unable to come to school after she hit puberty, was very fortunate that Reaching Hands found her school and decided to implement their 'Girls Glory programme.' This programme aims in building functional toilets for the girls in school. This step is deliberately taken to combat the social taboos associated with menstrual cycles. With the help of the organisation, there were two functional toilets built in the school premises and a few sessions on sex education really helped Likitha and others to come back to school. Likitha was more comfortable when she learnt that these toilets are only for girls and need not be shared with boys!
This story remains to be one of the most heart-touching one and an eye opener about the similar situation faced by many in Indian government schools. Each and every girl/ boy needs their own space and their empowerment must be prioritised. At the end of the day, all genders are equal and are beautiful in their own ways. This very understanding is important and organisations like 'Reaching Hand' play a key role in its propagation.
“Reaching Hands work towards providing opportunities in various aspects of life to the marginalised communities in India. Reaching hands was started in the year 1996 with an aim to work for the underprivileged children and vulnerable women in Bangalore. They strive to empower women and children through various schemes and specifically focuses on the areas of education, health and skill development. They work to provide basic facilities to homeless children and women.
When the organisation was started, the founders basically came up with two ideas. The first one was to build houses for the homeless and the second scheme was to raise enough money to provide scholarship for those who were forced to quit their education due to various circumstances. Today, Reaching Hands has built 2 shelter homes, with all the required facilities both for boys and girls. As of now there are 18 girls and 18 boys in these homes. They further aim to reach up to 500 children and minimize the suffering of abandonment and provide them with a family. The second is the scholarship programme which strives to eliminate financial and other barriers to education. This programme focuses on raising funds for the same purpose. Since 2000, Reaching Hands has developed many other schemes catering to the different needs of the society. Their schemes include,
- Namma Shale
This programme is setup to improve the infrastructure in government schools. Reaching Hands want the experiences of those studying in public and private school to be similar by providing facilities like projectors, computer labs, toilets, science labs and well-equipped libraries. Reaching Hand provides these children with school bags and books too. Also, the organisation places the right kind of staff and trained faculty whenever required to train the kids. The process starts with surveying different areas, finding out the area that needs help and then providing them with these infrastructural facilities.
- Girls Glory
This programme aims in building functional toilets for the girls in school. This step is deliberately taken to combat the social taboos associated with menstrual cycles. After hitting puberty, girls are not allowed to continue schooling as they are considered impure. Since the washrooms in these schools are dirty, these girls do not feel like using them, and therefore, there has been a high dropout and absentee rate among girls after attaining puberty. After Reaching Hands placed these working toilets, dropout and absentee rate has fallen miraculously. This scheme also diverts its attention into providing sex education for both the girls and boys and they work on improving girls’ confidence and dignity once they hit puberty.
This scheme focuses on equipping women and children with the necessary skills for employment. Reaching Hands wants to send a clear message that women can be self-reliant, because most women from the marginalised areas are highly dependent on their husbands for income. This programme is for 3 months and every 3 months there are 2 batches running. Their reach is about 100 women for each batch. Here, these women are taught basic language and necessary technical skills. Usually there is a placement rate of 70% and they are usually employed in retail stores. Example: Their reach here usually is up to 150 to 200 considering both the batches.
This programme aims in building computer facilities for the government schools. This subject has been made compulsory in their project areas. It is usually set up for 8th to 10th graders. Here basic computer training and knowledge of basic programming is taught. Along with this, they are taught to use the internet wisely.
This scheme also provides these children with career counselling, so that these children know different occupations and the different paths to success. Their reach is around 1000+. In addition to this, they have couple of new schemes which are to be implemented fully. One among them is the “Steer to change” programme whose main purpose is to create employment among women, by teaching them to drive. These women are given proper training and are provided with their license. Reaching Hands has contacts with different corporate and through this way these women would be employed by these corporate as cab drivers etc... the current batch is their first.
As every other new initiative, Reaching Hands has also had its equal share of challenges. The major challenge they face is in not providing charity. In some situations, the organisation ends up giving charity, which is not wrong, but still is not serving their aim. They have a very strict policy where they promote giving as many opportunities as possible, so that these individuals can be self-reliant for as long as possible.
Speaking on their recent experience in raising funds through TCS World 10k Bengaluru, Mr. Akhaya Kumar Sagar, Chief Operating Officer, Reaching Hand says that the event was incredible as always. It is a great platform for all the CSOs (NGOs) to come, participate and raise funds. Reaching Hands fundraising increased tremendously since the year of participation. This platform has given us a lot of hope and opportunity and is the right platform for volunteers, corporate and public to come together and support a cause of choice. TCS W10k event is a good reason to reach out to corporate too.
Reaching Hands raised Rs 23 lakhs and he thanked Care Champions and iCare volunteers for their hard work and contribution towards the cause. Reaching Hands has been participating in this event since 2011 and considers this as a biggest fundraising event for their organisation. They use this platform to get back to their donors and introduce their new projects to them.
Mr. Akhaya’s message to the new organisations - “Those who really want to take fundraising to the next level, they must participate in this event. The advantages of this event is, you can reach out to a lot of people, get visibility/ branding and an engaging platform to raise funds.”As spoken to, Divya G Rao India Cares Foundation 14 August 2017
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