Our NGO, ShikshaDaan Foundation celebrated its 11th birthday on April 4th which happens to be my father-in-law’s birthday as well. We set it up that way to honour his memory because he was the main inspiration for ShikshaDaan. My father-in-law Sri Govindachari, loved teaching and he taught even on his last day.
He had served as the Principal at Chinmaya School, Chennai and had a huge role in setting up the school. In 2019, when the school had an alumni get together, we were told by Rajeshwari, a very dear friend of ours and a Chinmaya school alum that Appa got a standing ovation and the loudest claps when past principals’ pictures were put up. For us it’s no wonder because we have seen his commitment to teaching. Early in his life he did the typical Arian thing of quitting his “confirmed” job with Railways and became a teacher because that’s what he loved to do.
As his son and daughter-in-law, it was imperative that Krishnan and I at least did something for education …. and ShikshaDaan happened in 2012.
When we setup ShikshaDaan we just thought of giving scholarships to meritorious students from the financially challenged sections of the society. We hadn’t defined the target segment and in the initial 3 to 4 years we also did not have the necessary exemptions that an NGO must have. Unlike the present times, the process of applying for 80G and 12AA were not online and the option of getting provisional exemptions like today didn’t exist.
As soon as I quit full time work in 2015 – A fist out of water …. After 11.5 years, Krishnan and I launched the ShikshaDaan Yatra, to drive around all the districts in India. The primary reason to go on this Yatra was to identify genuine NGO’s and educational institutes through whom we could support validated students. The Yatra also involved presenting the ShikshaDaan idea to my ISB batchmates and several friends and ex-colleagues.
Within a few months of the Yatra, we were able to define our target segment – students in 11th std or those that have cleared 12th. It got further refined as we realised the biggest dropout happens after 12th.
Getting the 12AA in 2016 and the 80G in 2018 (retrospectively from 2017) fuelled our growth as corporate sponsorship became a reality.
The picture above summarises ShikshaDaan’s performance in these 11 years. Effectively, its the performance since 2017-2023, six years.
The 11th year was our best ever !! We received Rs. 9.4 crore in donations and disbursed Rs. 6.6 crores of Scholarships during the Financial Year (April 2022 to March 2023). 4324 scholars were supported in this one year. Cumulatively, we have supported 18351 students as of March 31, 2023.
What’s more satisfying to us is that we continue to follow our founding principle of near 100% of the donations reaching the beneficiaries. Our expenses to donation ratio has remained at 0.5%. Like in our life, so many people have come together to make this happen. Our corporate sponsors, the advisory council, friends, family and our NGO partners have all helped in every way to make this possible. Can’t thank them enough. We just had the idea, but without all of these people sharing their resources, none of this would have been possible.
We look forward to the years ahead and pray that ShikshaDaan remains an instrument of bringing positive change in the lives of the students.
Deeply grateful and heartfelt thanks. 🙏🏿
Do visit our website – https://www.shikshadaan.com.
3 thoughts on “ShikshaDaan’s 11th Birthday”
Where did you get the huge funds to set up a venture like this ? Did you put up your own savings ? You quit the corporate sector so early when you had many years to go for superannuation
Ashoke Ji – I have mentioned in my post that these funds came from Corporate sponsors. I wish we had such savings, would have loved to give it to ShikshaDaan.
Thank you 👍🙏