Atma

Atma's Mission: Building capacity of education NGOs to achieve organisational sustainability & scalability thereby enabling delivery of quality education. Atma Values are: o Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much. (~Helen Keller) o Excellence is never an accident. (~Aristotle) o Strength lies in differences not in similarities. (~Stephen Covey) o If you say you're going to do something, do it. If you start something, finish it." (~Epictetus)
Apr 8, 2016

How Atma volunteers are creating an impact

Michael (right) with Art Room Co-founder Himanshu
Michael (right) with Art Room Co-founder Himanshu

In the last quarter, we onboarded more than 10 new NGOs from Mumbai. Our Partnership Managers and volunteers have started working with each one of them. It's an exciting phase where we understand the leaders of the NGOs and their needs - and it is here where Atma volunteers play a key role.

Michael, a volunteer from Austria had recently joined us. He brought his marketing know-how on the table to help our newly onboarded partner Art Room create a 'Communications Guideline' - something that they had never done before!

"I have been volunteering in Mumbai with Atma for the last six months working with one of Atma's partner organizations named Art Room. It is a Dharavi-based NGO that utilizes the medium of art to empower children and women of marginalized communities. On any given day, you will see passionate children exploring and expressing their ideas through art and engaging in discussions about their lives. Making art creates confidence and stimulates personal growth which eventually enables people of these communities take control of their lives.

At present, I am supporting Art Room with their branding and marketing so that they can engage more efficiently with prospective donors. We have accomplished a lot in very short time:

-Reached out to over 1800 children in Dharavi through our art programs -Analyzed Art Room's brand identity to give them a consistent and recognizable appearance

-Successfully designed a comprehensive marketing plan which makes their communication with stakeholders professional and efficient

-Created professional marketing collaterals such as brochures and one-pagers

Together with Atma, Art Room aims at expanding their work to more communities in Mumbai over the next year. So many more children could immediately benefit from their hands-on programs and - speaking from my personal experience - I know that Atma and its volunteers can build the capacities to make this possible," he says.

There are many volunteers like Michael who continue to make a tremendous contribution to the Atma Accelerator Program. And we think they make the Atma Accelerator Program more awesome.

Dec 21, 2015

Six new NGOs on-boarded!

On-boarding ceremony
On-boarding ceremony

Atma has selected six NGOs from Mumbai to be a part of the Atma Accelerator Program. The selected NGOs will be a part of Cohort 2015 and receive 1200 hours of support per year for the next three years along with one dedicated Partnership Manager and three skilled volunteers to help their NGOs become bigger, better and stronger.

Atma’s ‘Cohort 2015’ and 'Special-Ed Cohort 2015' has NGOs with huge potential that work on providing quality education to underprivileged children, children with special needs, and vulnerable girls.

Atma’s Executive Director, Mary Ellen Matsui says, “In our due diligence we found that some education NGOs were doing phenomenal work at the grass-roots level. We were impressed by their work and their potential to achieve more. All those NGOs are now a part of ‘Cohort 2015’. Atma will be supporting them through the Accelerator Program for the next three years and help them reach out to more beneficiaries by scaling their programs and making them sustainable. We are excited to work with some of the most promising education NGOs in Mumbai.”

Urja Trust, one of the six NGOs that is part of Cohort 2015, has been working at grass-roots level with girls from vulnerable backgrounds in Mumbai for the last 15 years.


Deepali Vandana, Managing Trustee, Urja Trust says, “Youth between 18 to 30 years is a young, energetic group whose energies must be harnessed well. If each girl in India who reaches or is about to reach young adulthood isn't given development opportunities, she will be susceptible to becoming homeless. For this reason, we also need to expand our work with families and communities. While Urja has leaders with vast grass-roots level experience, it needs concrete management skills, so that we can scale our work and increase the visibility of our cause in the world at large. We believe that Urja aligns with Atma's ideologies and Atma's vision, in that Atma seeks to facilitate the empowerment of grass-root level stakeholders in order to ultimately reach out to beneficiaries.”

Another NGO A B Foundation (also known by the name Sai Sweekar), caters to children with special needs in Virar and Thane region. One of its founders is Meena Nikam - she has been instrumental in initiating ‘Home Based Program’ for the children with visual and additional disabilities in Mumbai. Meena Nikam, Director, A B Foundation says, “A B Foundation’s project had started years ago out of passion for special needs children and families; today it is in need of enhanced vision, structured managerial approach and implementation of ideas and success stories of other NGOs with Atma have inspire us to take this step forward. This is exactly why we have joined the Accelerator Program at Atma.”

The names of the NGOs selected for the Atma Accelerator Program ‘Cohort 2015’ are Urja, Human Pride Trust, Art Room Foundation and Karunya Trust. 

The names of the NGOs selected for the Atma Accelerator Program ‘Special- Ed Cohort 2015’ are A B Foundation and Gharkul. 

Sep 22, 2015

They have been accelerated!

Dipti Gandhi, Director, Muskan Foundation
Dipti Gandhi, Director, Muskan Foundation

Here's the big update for our Global Giving Supporters!

Atma Partners Bright Future, Muskan Foundation and Sol’s ARC have graduated from the Accelerator Program!

It was a day of laughter and anecdotes and remembering days when leaders of these NGOs worked with the Atma team to make their NGOs Bigger, Better, and Stronger.

“We have had lots of lengthy arguments in this room. Budget wise, we just had 8 lakh when we started. Last year we raised 48 lakhs and this is because of whatever work we have done with Atma. Today, when I send my plan to partners, they get a very clear understanding about our vision. We now have a 2020 vision and hope to have 25 centers, reach out to 100 schools and 50,000 adolescents and children. The journey continues,” says Kishor Palve, CEO, Bright Future.

Few highlights of graduated partners:

Bright Future has grown from 1 to 4 centers in 3 years, Muskan’s budget has increased from INR 1,19,800 to INR 42,00,000 and Sol’s ARC has successfully launched its PACE & iExcel curriculum and is currently reaching out to 550 students with special needs.

Dipti  Gandhi, Director, Muskan Foundation says, “Atma has left me so strong that I can speak and say what I want.  I used to be submissive. Atma also helped us with fundraising strategy and now I am the go-to person when we discuss fundraising strategy in the organisation. The last project that we finished is something we feel really great about – M& E is very difficult in this sector and Atma did a great job!”

Sol's ARC President Sonali Saini receives the graduation certificate.

Photo: Sol’s ARC President Sonali Saini receives the graduation certificate.

Scaling and making these NGOs sustainable took 19 awesome volunteers, 87 projects in different organisational development areas and tons of energy! But nothing beats watching these NGO leaders being confident and raring to go!

Sol’s ARC President Sonali Saini says, “We were very program focused – focused on how to improve the education of children, working on the curriculum etc. I don’t think we ever looked at ourselves from an ‘organisation’ perspective. Through the Accelerator, we started looking our self as an organisation and started with simple things like getting HR policies done, getting funding sheets ready. Atma also gave me a lot of confidence as a leader and as a networker.

 

Bright Future

Kishor Palve, CEO, Bright Future, receives the graduation certificate

Kishor Palve sums up his Atma experience – “Whenever someone asks me what is Atma – I say it’s a space where you can talk, discuss and debate about issues of the organisation.”

 

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