Samarthya: Support us to Help Children Access their Right to Education

What is Samarthya?
Samarthya means enabler. Samarthya is an initiative to help children have better and complete access to their Right To Education. The initiative, which is aimed at enforcing Section 21 of the Right To Education, is being run by IIT, BITS, Teach For India Alumni and fellows in Delhi. Samarthya is actively working to empower parent leaders to work towards improving the school and subsequently the future children.

We believe that active parental participation has the potential to improve the efficiency of a school as parents have the highest incentive to demand a better quality of education for their children.

RTE Section 21 mandates the constitution of a School Management Committee (SMC) consisting of parents, a social worker, a representative of the local authority, the principal and a teacher. 75% of this committee comprises of parents. Currently we educate and support the parents by: 
1. Conducting informational sessions with them about RTE, roles and responsibilities as an SMC member.
2. Equipping them with necessary skills like accessing grievance redressal mechanisms, filing complaints, working with principals and local bodies.
3. Working on their mindset to engage with the system with care and empathy, to work in tandem with school authorities and to take greater interest in the life of their children.

The Problem:

What is the problem we are trying to address in the next 15 years?
  • High incidence of illiteracy, lack of awareness of rights, roles and responsibilities and prevailing power structures often interfere with the proper functioning of SMCs
  • Approximately 40% of SMCs in India don't receive any kind of training 
  • 25.9% of the schools at the primary level and 13.4% of the schools at the secondary level violate the RTE norm on student teacher ratio
  • 38% schools don’t have a playground
  • 44% boys and 43% girls passed 8th grade with less than 60% marks in 2015-16.


Who are we?
Samarthya comprises of of 8 youngsters who simply want to do good for the society. With respect to our work, 4 members of this team are themselves working as social workers in SMCs of government schools of Delhi. All the members are or have been a teacher, teacher trainer or parent coach for a duration ranging from few months to a couple of years. Previous professional experience of the members include work with Samsung, Infosys and MMRC.

Who do we currently work with?
Samarthya currently works with 238 parents, from low income communities, who are SMC members in 14 government schools in West and North-East Delhi.

How was the project running in 2016?
Samarthya is a not for profit initiative. All the members were doing pro bono work and in fact contributing from their personal salaries. Most of the costs were on travel, food and resources for training sessions. But this approach is leading to fund constraint and affecting the quality of the program.

What will the funds be used for?

To sustain the quality and work and continue with these parents and school, we have realized two key things:
a) We need to stay with these parents and schools for the long run. Think a couple of years to a decade because deep, sustainable change takes time.
b) We need to take this up full time, so members working on this would need salaries and enough funds to focus all the attention on the problem, solution and impact model in 2017.

Please donate to the project if you connect to the cause or share our belief that informed and equipped parents are going to change the education landscape for the better. In the interest of transparency, the budget of Samarthya is attached below. The session plans, grievance redressal analysis and more details about the organization can be found here.
Samarthya: Budget (2016-17 & 2017-18)
Samarthya: Budget (2016-17 & 2017-18)
Samarthya: Grievance Analysis
Samarthya: Grievance Analysis
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18th June 2017
Dear Supporters,

Saboli is a community in East Delhi. The girls in the Government school of Saboli used to face harassment at the hands of boys while leaving the school. This was because when the morning school for girls ends, the evening school for boys begins. The parents that we work with decided in one of our bi-weekly check ins that in order to prevent this they want a Police van outside the school. They displayed courage and a sense of urgency when they submitted a request letter for a police van to the nearest police station. It is because of their endeavors that a police constable is always present outside the school now.  

Thanks to you and our parent leaders that the girls in Saboli school now feel safe and more parents are encouraged towards sending their daughters to school.
 
 
We at Samarthya, are very grateful for your kind donation towards our cause of building equitable schools. We’d like you to know that your thoughtfulness is truly making a difference in the lives of around 238 parents and 41,430 children. More training sessions have been conducted, more parents have been empowered, many others inspired and more children have better access to their right to education. It is because of your support that we have been able to conduct 14 support sessions and over 50 community visits since February. Your donation has contributed in covering our operational costs for the last 4 months. These parents are now familiar with the systemic tools and are actively using them, taking us closer to our dream of building equitable schools. 
 (A picture from one of our sessions in Gokalpur Village)

Given the magnitude and the complexity of the problem we face, we think Samarthya has just begun its journey.  Knowing that people like you have our back, gives us the courage, energy and the motivation to enable parents to stand up for the right of their children. 

Thank you so much for your support !

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Lage raho ladkon!

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