Posts which have been tagged with: right to education.

Godparents in the Sponsor Program

Sharana’s Sponsorship Program is one of the largest, and longest-established program that the organization runs. It also takes much attention and care, all the way from screening beneficiaries, to matching children with donors, file-maintenance and follow-up, writing annual letters and sending cards, organizing Summer Camp activities, and more. Amidst all this work there are some distinct moments of pleasure and achievement: successful completion of studies (as for example in the case of Kanchana)–and the visits of Godparents.

Godparents are those who support the individual children in Sharana’s Sponsorship program. John Peter, Ravi Anand, and Kaladevi arranged for the visit of six Godparents to meet their sponsored beneficiaries this past week. They came bearing gifts and much goodwill. After a meeting with the social workers, they visited the Infant Jesus Homework Help Center and attended the children’s yoga and dance performances. Next, they visited the Solidarity Shop:

Last but not least, they visited the Aranganur creche:

and planted a tree there that will grow just as their sponsored children will!

Sekar and Kanchana: A father-daughter story

Sekar was a driver with Sharana for ten years, until he died of cardiac arrest very suddenly and very unexpectedly on this very day last October. He was survived by his wife, Shenbagavalli, who works with the tailoring Unit of the organization A Way with You (AWWY), and his three children: daughters Kanchana (18) and Gayathiri (13), and son Kalaiarasan (16). We use the opportunity of this post to pay tribute to Sekar for his service to Sharana, and to celebrate the achievements of his daughter Kanchana, who has completed her 12th standard exams and secured an admission to Nursing School!

Left to Right: Brigitte Peltier, her god-daughter who shares the name Brigitte, Sekar’s three children: Kalaiarasan, Kanchana, Gayathiri, and his widow: Shenbagavalli.

Sekar’s family struggled to make ends meet, in the best of times. They live in an unfinished house constructed with a Housing Loan from Sharana, along with Sekar’s brother and family. Since the construction is still incomplete, the house has no completed bathroom, no interior doors, and many unfinished sections.

Though Sekar was himself a driver, his children had to walk to their schools daily. Educational success under such difficult circumstances is a considerable achievement, and we are most proud of Kanchana for her achievements, and wish for her continued success. Kalaiarasan wants to complete high school and go into finance. Gayathiri is still young and considering her options.

Kanchana’s is being sponsored for her higher education by Brigitte Peltier, whom we see pictured here during a visit to Pondicherry. Brigitte was kind enough to spend some time with the family, encouraging Sekar’s children to persist in achieving their educational goals, and reminding them to keep in mind always the worth and value of education. She also organized a dinner at Surguru the same evening, and invited the family to join.

Join us this week in remembering Sekar’s good cheer and dedication of spirit, and congratulating Kanchana for her achievements. No doubt, her father would also have been as proud as we are.

Mission


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:

Provide access:

  • 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;

Provide support:

  • 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;

Provide opportunities:

  • For individuals to participate in income-generating projects that provide training and employment, while also off-setting the costs of Sharana’s other undertakings.