The four Saakshar schools provide education for about 120 children every morning as they spend a year preparing for mainstream school. Our Saakshar teachers register them for local government schools and complete the paperwork which many parents cannot do. About another 100 children who have already been 'mainstreamed' come to Saakshar each afternoon for extra and remedial lessons so that they do not fall behind. No one drops out.
The total cost of this work is currently (2019) about £30,000 per year, although prices, rents and costs in Delhi are rising quickly. This pays for the rental of four small classrooms, and pays the modest salaries of ten teachers and assistants. It also covers the cost of providing lunch for all children at Saakshar 1, remedial help for older children in all four Saakshar classrooms until 5pm each day, and some vocational and English language training. Most of the office overheads for VVF, which runs Saakshar, are paid for by its other activities, it's environmental projects and computer courses. Asha Kumar, its full-time founder and Director is unpaid. Ralph Williamson visits Saakshar each year without any cost to the charity. Saakshar School Appeal has no paid staff, and all the Trustees offer their help and support freely, which means that every £1 or Rs90 given to Saakshar School Appeal goes directly to help children’s learning, and we know exactly how carefully it is used. This transparency and the values with which Saakshar operates makes it an unusual little charity, run by people who have been working tirelessly in these communities since 2002.
We have received a number of smaller gifts from donors in Delhi towards Saakshar's work over the years, but in 2018 we were delighted to welcome the support of Mr Manoj Garg, whose business in London and Delhi is now making a valuable donation to Saakshar's costs. We are keen to invite more partners in Delhi, and one of Ralph's tasks when visiting Delhi is to make contact with potential Indian supporters. We are grateful for the support of Mr Vijay Goel in London for arranging these contacts.
In 2018 a piece of land next to Nasirpur slum became available, and with the help of a very generous donation of £60, we have been able to complete the purchase of this land, on which to build our own schoolroom. This will be of enormous benefit, as we are currently at the mercy of short term rental of rooms in private houses, and are often being told to increase the rent or to leave. Having nowhere permanent has a big impact on our work, so the building of a school building for Saakshar 1 will be a great step forward. The building of 100 square yards will be on four floors, and will include bright and clean classrooms, computer suite, office space and a caretaker's flat. In addition, a lift, proper toilets and reliable water, constant electricity and greater security. After completing the final legal processes we are expecting to appoint a builder and begin this work in 2019. We anticipate a fundraising campaign will be required, both in Delhi and in UK.
Without Saakshar, many of these children would never receive any education, but with a few years of help from Saakshar they will complete school, get training for employment, and live happier, more secure and fulfilled lives. About £300 per child is all it costs to change someone's life this much.
Change Lives - Ways to Give to Saakshar
You can set up a bank transfer yourself and send us a Gift Aid form here.
The easiest and quickest way to give a single or regular donation, with or without Gift Aid, is through CAF Donate here (a small fee is taken by CAF Donate to use this service):
You can also support Saakshar School appeal through Give as you Live, using everyday online purchases to raise funds for Saakshar. Click on the logo on the left to learn how, and download the easy app or browser button!