“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself” – John Dewey
I am going to run the Chicago Marathon on October 13, 2019. I am taking this challenge as an opportunity to make some difference in the lives of underprivileged and poverty-stricken children in India. My primary goal here is to raise funds for a cause closest to my heart: “Education for underprivileged children in India”. I am planning to raise $100 per mile of the marathon I will be running (26.2 x $100 = $2,620).
Why am I doing this?
I consider myself very fortunate to be where I am in life today as I had the privilege of receiving a good education in India where millions of children were deprived of it. I have very deep roots in India with my parents, siblings and other family members living there. While growing up in a very poor Mumbai neighborhood, I personally witnessed and experienced how education could lift families out of poverty.
Even though India has seen a fast-paced economic growth for many years and Education is actually “free and compulsory” for children between the age of 6 to 14 years as mandated by the Right to Education (RTE) Act of 2010, the country still suffers from the chronic problem of out-of-school children. The problem is severed especially amongst the underprivileged and poverty-stricken section of the society. Poor quality of the government schools, shortage of teachers, infrastructural gaps and high dropout rates after the initial school enrollment are often cited as the reasons by the experts.
Here are some grim statistics about India according to the last available data from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS):
- Illiterate population (unable to read or write) – 256 million
- Number of out-of-school children, adolescents and youth of primary and secondary school age – 60 million
It is heartbreaking to know that there are still millions of children in India growing up and not going to school. This lack of education can mean less economic opportunities and continuation of the cycle of poverty for them.
Running to raise funds is my small effort to give these children a choice to get educated.
Why donate to Asha for Education?
- Asha is a fully volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with 50+ chapters around the world whose mission is to catalyze socio-economic change in India through the education of underprivileged children. Watch the CNN coverage of Asha for Education video here.
- Over the years, Asha has succeeded in touching the lives of thousands of children through its various educational initiatives and projects. Although the primary focus is on education, Asha also addresses issues affecting human life such as health care, environmental concerns, and women’s issues.
- Asha is run by a diverse group of committed volunteers who take a personal interest in researching and identifying worthy projects in India.
- Asha has been awarded the highest rating of 4 stars by Charity Navigator, America’s leading independent charity evaluator, with a score of 100 out of 100.
- All contributions to it are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law (Tax ID: 77-0459884, Asha for Education).