Your Help Can Send These Kids Back To School | Milaap

Your Help Can Send These Kids Back To School


It is a hot, sticky summer afternoon. Young Soumya sits in a corner outside his mother’s kitchen. He is happy. His ‘Maa’, Rosalini, looks up from her stove and smiles at the figure of her teen-aged son. For a moment, her smile clouds over - the past flashes by and she sees a different Soumya.8 years ago, her little 5-year-old boy was diagnosed with cancer. When she came home with the news, her husband, Soumya’s ‘Bapa’, was at work, at the Forest Office. How would his watchman’s salary cover the costs, she wondered. What about school? Food? Their daughter: would they have to sacrifice her studies? That would be unfair, their little girl simply loved school. In the years that followed, Soumya made many trips to the big hospital in distant Mumbai. His Bapa borrowed heavily from anyone who would lend - they would spend Rs. 400,000 on his treatment. To keep her children in school, an uneducated, unemployed Rosalini began to make and sell her snacks to retailers. Every summer, frail Soumya would sit in that hot kitchen, bravely trying not to retch as his Maa made the most beautiful food he wouldn’t eat. While she distractedly checked if at all she could borrow, more heavy debt, to pay her children’s school fees when summer ended.“Those days are over,” smiles Rosalini as she returns to the present. She sees her brave boy, who has almost beaten his cancer. Her boy, studying ahead for the new school year, while his sister is at college. He will surely return to school in June. Because this summer, Soumya received a study loan from Milaap - to pay his fees for the coming year.Student 4a 


In late 2013, Milaap, a unique crowdfunding organization, extended its partnership with the Mahashakti Foundation in Odisha to also provide affordable study loans to underprivileged children and youth. The average household income in Odisha is Rs. 5000 to Rs. 8000 per month - an amount that barely covers living expenses, leaving almost nothing for school fees. But the children here LOVE school. And their parents know the value of education. So they scrape and borrow at heavy interest rates to pay school fees. But every year is a gamble. So many parents cannot secure another loan over the summer. So many kids drop out. This summer was different, though. Through the “Back-To-School” campaign, Milaap’s passionate lending community, folks like you, helped hundreds of parents secure study loans for their children over the summer.Among these kids are the daughters of two milkmen. Feisty Narmada and brilliant Lipi. 18-year-old Narmada, the oldest of 3 teenagers, would have dropped out of her Bachelor’s degree course. Her parents rear cows and sell milk to earn Rs. 8000 a month. There was no way they could pay her fee for the next year. Brilliant 10-year-old Lipi, already in Class 5, would have studied no further. Her parents, like Narmada’s, rear cows and sell milk for Rs. 7000 a month. This summer, they couldn’t put together the Rs. 20,000 school fee. They almost asked Lipi to quit and stay home to babysit her younger sibling - a toddler. But given a chance by the “Back To School” campaign, their parents grabbed at it. Now, Narmada and Lipi are both staying in school next year.[gallery type="rectangular" link="none" ids="3512,3513"]


Among the youth helped by the Milaap community is 17-year-old Samrat Mahanty. His father scraped together the fee so Samrat could enroll for a diploma course in Electrical Engineering. A dedicated Samrat would wake before sunrise and cycle 12 km or 8 miles every morning to reach the institute. He was exhausted by the time he got home after a grueling day of classes and a 24-km ride that cost him crucial study hours. So he applied for a Milaap study loan to cover his institute’s hostel fee. With the time he saved by living next to the institute, Samrat took extra classes, his grades improved. He has now set his sights on a Bachelors degree in Engineering. He plans to be a software engineer, “So I can earn well. To ensure my little sister studies in the best of colleges and gets her MBA. To repair my grandfather’s old house.” That is the earnest motivation that drives this youth. The kind of motivation that inspires the Milaap community to do more.
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In the short month since the “Back To School” campaign began, 22 Champions signed up to run fundraisers for the kids and youth of Odisha - to help them stay in school. To equip them to step into a brighter future.

Along with the many individual champions, this summer’s “Back To School” campaign also attracted the attention of, the largest cashback and coupons site in India. In June, its co-founder, Swati Bhargava, announced the launch of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) campaign in collaboration with Milaap. Her words, “With a strong community of over 8 lakh people, we bring the crowdfunding concept via cashback to this unique campaign for helping build education in early years. We believe that we must help each other rise towards our ambitions and potential. Milaap offers a great way to do that in a transparent, accountable and engaging way. will match every rupee that is lent towards this worthy cause!”What does this mean? Well, all through the past month, and till the 4th of July, 2014, every rupee and dollar lent to Cashkaro’s “Back To School” Campaign on Milaap will make DOUBLE the impact. Because will add their share and double the contribution. That’s twice as many children going back to school this year.[gallery type="rectangular" link="none" ids="3514,3516,3515"]So far, scores of underprivileged children and youth in Odisha have benefited from this campaign. A lot more are waiting for a chance. To get off the streets and return to school once more. To have a chance at a better, brighter future. Now is the time to make a difference. Make a small loan, and their hard-working parents will repay you.

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