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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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25th September 2017

Dear Supporters,

Apart from our official logo above, today I just wish to share 3 things, 3 of the most incredible updates from the last 4 months. Before I begin, I just want to officially welcome the 34 new donors since the last time we posted an update.
Incredible Update #1: Citizens To The Fore

One Line Summary: An informed parent is central to a good public education system, just like an informed citizen is central to a democracy.

Your support enabled us to launch our SMC (School Management Committee) election campaign. Running on a slim budget, we have covered 70+ schools in the North East District of Delhi.  We intend to cover a total of 126 schools. You can read more about our effort on Youth Ki Awaaz.
(Parents being informed about what role can they play in the upcoming SMC elections during a Parent Teacher Meeting in Kakrola, New Delhi)
(Outgoing SMC members spreading awareness so that more and more parents play an active role in the public education system)

Incredible Update #2: Parent Organized Weekly Reading Camp

One Line Summary: Parents organize a weekly reading camp for all the children in the community.

(Pictures from the weekly reading camp organized in Mohan Garden)

Incredible Update #3: Himachal Pradesh Calling

One Line Summary: We were invited to Himachal Pradesh to conduct SMC training(s) in collaboration with the DIET of District Solan.

We conducted training(s) for more than 15 SMCs in July and August.
(SMC members going through the Himachal Pradesh government circular about duties of the School Management Committee)

Key Facts: In the last 4 months, we have visited the communities we work with over 50 times, we have conducted over 10 sessions and we have been running the SMC election campaign for over 3 weeks now.

The money you donated has made it financially viable to run our operations so far and for at least 3 more months.

If you are ever in Delhi and can spare the time, please let me know, we would love for you to see the work on the ground.

Please do reach out to me for any queries. Keep checking our facebook page for regular updates.

Thank you for your support. It is much needed and much appreciated.

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