Sharana is a social and development organization based in Pondicherry, India. It was established in July 2000 to address the critical educational needs of socio-economically disadvantaged children and communities in urban Pondicherry and its surrounding villages.
Sharana’s foundational belief is that all human beings are equal in rights and dignity, and everyone is entitled to food, clothing, and shelter.
Sharana’s mission is twofold:
A. To enable socio-economically disadvantaged children in the Pondicherry environs to fully claim their rights to education by developing social programs, building physical infrastructure, and identifying sources of financial support.
B. To work for community development by supporting and increasing beneficiaries’ awareness of their own skills and capabilities, while respecting each individual’s self-worth and capacity to achieve full independence and self-reliance.
Sharana’s approach to addressing the educational needs of children and communities is thus integrative, comprehensive, and wholistic. Recognizing that:
1, addressing educational needs involves addressing health, nutrition, hygiene, housing, security, and other family and community needs in parallel;
2, educational development is most effective when it is addressed in the context of broader, social and economic development: support for individual children requires addressing family and community needs; and
3, development initiatives provide lasting social empowerment only when they enable individuals to become autonomous, active, contributing members of society;
Sharana’s various projects collectively aim to:
- To education by identifying donors to sponsor individual children;
- To employment via micro-credit lending and vocational training schemes;
- To healthcare via a free dispensary and the organization of health camps;
- To students by organizing homework help sessions, summer camps, literacy/reading sessions and so on;
- To working parents by offering childcare in crèches, and nutritionally balanced meals and snacks in Sharana’s kitchens;
- For individuals to participate in income-generating projects that provide training and employment, while also off-setting the costs of Sharana’s other undertakings.