Can we help the disadvantaged in India in some useful way?

I and Sridhar Iyer had a discussion today about coming up with a way by which we as the sast wingees group can participate in helping the disadvantaged in India in an effective way. His idea is “can we adopt some poor kids” and get them clothed, fed, their academic progress is monitored by someone that we trust and essentially build them into productive up-standing citizens of India. Guys, can we have a conversation around this and do something about this. I know all of us frequently donate to our favorite charities, but we really don’t know how well the money is being used. So this approach may lead to some more direct contributions to the Indian society where over 50% of the population are below the poverty line. Please note this article is posted to the private area of the blog and the world cannot see it.  So please feel free to post your thoughts without fear of it being read by general public. Myself and Sridhar Iyer are looking for your responses, so that we can take this idea forward. Thanks in advance.


  1. Anonymous said June 29, 2005, 1:21 pm:

    Just to add to what Suku was saying – the objectives behind this thought are the following:

    1.To achieve personal satisfaction in seeing our efforts bear fruit.

    2. To help not only the needy but also the well deserved ‘ The kids we adopt will have to fulfil specific requirements that we set at each level. For e.g. Level 0: The basic criteria for selection into this program could be that the kid should be bright, well behaved and ready to work hard. Level one: The kid should pass in all subjects at school in order to receive aid for Year 2 .If the kid achieves level 1, then he/she will be eligible for a higher quantum of aid provided he/she gets 50% or more in the exams. The benchmarks could be across various aspects of life, not restricted to academics alone. The idea is to ensure that the program rewards hardwork /dedication and does not degenerate into a ‘ mid-day meal scheme’.

    3. Use this as a test ground to take up larger social causes in the future ‘ certainly applicable to those of us who have the courage and the determination to get into this area?

    There are far too many things involved ( not that I have any experience in this area) in setting up such a program and it may be prudent to start small . Some thoughts that occurred to me:

    1. Important to identify a trusted intermediary/team in India who will help in selecting the team of kids, monitor their progress and distribute aid in a fair/ transparent manner. In effect run this program for us. Any thoughts?

    2. The distribution of aid in itself will be a challenge – it will be foolish to hand over money ‘ it has to take the form of school fees, books, uniform, food etc. – which in itself will be challenge.

    3 It may not be enough to involve the kids alone – their parents /family will need to be involved too in order to ensure that the kid gets the right support at home, if aid needs to continue.

    4 This needs to be sustainable program and should not be a short term work of passion – in which case our commitment to this program, not only in terms of money, but also interest, attention etc should be long term.

    But it can be done and we should do it. We need to think of the best/cleverest possible manner in which to do it. If we don’t do it who will?

  2. Anonymous said June 30, 2005, 2:46 pm:

    True, you can measure some progress when it comes to academic performance and identify the well-deserving kids ….. but there are those that lack basic needs like food, clothing, shelter, medicine, rehabilitation, etc. before they can even attain a school-going age.

    Survival ….. that’s the paramount need I personally would like to see addressed. This is a subject close to my heart, but I am open to suggestions & arguments.

    If I may suggest a couple of links:

    A splendid idea, nevertheless.

  3. Anonymous said July 1, 2005, 1:16 pm:

    Thanks for initiating this idea. I will fully support it in whatever way possible.

    The key is how to setup an organization in India that manages the program.

    I will give some more thought to this .


  4. Anonymous said July 8, 2005, 11:59 pm:

    Well, it appears that we are having the same thoughts. I was planning to visit some people who are running the charity organisations in India during my visit this year end. Also I was planning to meet a friend of my brother who is running an organisation independently with all costs going to the needy. I will have more details later for all of you.

    But we ourselves must discuss as to how to distribute the resources. Education is the key but will it help if survival /basic needs are not meet, Or should we allocate resources for basic needs/health/education in percentage?Also how much can we fund as this will be a long term commitment?

    I will try to get more details as soon as possible then I suggest we go thru another round of discussions . Also suggest that guys in US get in touch directly with each other so that communication is faster and response will be more positive.

  5. Anonymous said July 18, 2005, 1:22 pm:

    I am glad that we have started thinking about giving back to the community.

    If we want to delegate to organizations that have been doing this for a longer period of time, here are a few more –



    I have heard great things about SIVANANDA SARASWATHI SEVASHRAM. However, their objectives include more than just educating the needy.

    From the tone of the post, looks like we want tighter control/accountability over where the money is going. This leads me to believe that we are either looking for a person or a small organization that can report back to us on a timely and accurate fashion. As Pai has mentioned let us setup a time to discuss this over the phone. I believe that we can arrive at a consensus sooner that way.


  6. Anonymous said July 22, 2005, 12:12 pm:

    I suggest Tuesday , the 26th of July for a conf call – we could use the bridge no. 0044 20 71540004 ; pw 678426# or any other number which is suitable. Suggested time – 3pm UK which will be 10am NY and 7.30pm India. Any other time is also fine.

    Do confirm