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Jun 24, 2019

Hat trick for Balbhavan

Celebrating our students' fantastic results
Celebrating our students' fantastic results

Thank you so much for your support in helping to educate the children in our urban slum communities through our Balbhavan (slum schools) project. You can never over estimate what a difference you are making and below are just three of our many recent stories of success.

Last Monday marked the beginning of the new school academic year 2019-20 in India. A few weeks before the school gates opened, we celebrated the success of students who completed their 10th and 12th standard last year. Despite the hardships they endure living in our slums, they have made remarkable progress in their studies due to our after school classes. This helps us in bucking the trend and challenges in our society where 40% of adolescent girls are forced into child marriage and are missing from schools. While around 30% of girls from India’s poorest families never get a chance to go to school we are proud to report 100% school enrollment for the children living in the slums where we work.

We hope you are as proud of our students as we are for focusing on their futures and trying their best to break through the walls of poverty and inequality. Also know that it would not be possible if it was not supporters like you helping our children experience the happiness of being part of a school and receiving a quality education. Thank you!

At the start of each academic year our School Chale Hum celebration encourages students to pack their school bags and join school with a new enthusiasm, confidence and hope for a better future. Our students are excited to get back to the school, meet their friends and teachers and get stuck into the new syllabus. In spite of the adversity they experience and their challenging backgrounds, these students are ready to run the race and successfully cross the finishing line ahead of the pack.

We are hoping that this year’s students repeat last year’s students’ success where 96% passed their 12th Standard exams. Given the inequalities in education, we are proud to let you know that the highest scoring student from our Balbhavan was a girl scoring 81% followed by two other girls scoring 77% and 75% respectively.

Our 10th standard students also gave us a result of 85% for 2018-19, with again a girl student topping the table with 81%. Your support means everyone has an equal right to education regardless of income, living circumstances or gender.

Finally, more good news! Last year we reported that Shubhangi, a former beneficiary and now peer mentor in our slum schools, would be representing India at the Homeless World Cup taking place in Mexico. Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control she didn’t make it to the pitch. She also didn’t give up and we are pleased to announce that she has made the team for this year and her tickets are booked for the football competition in Cardiff, UK from 27 July-3 August. She needs your support and encouragement and we are asking those who will be in the UK this summer to go along to Cardiff to cheer her on as she finally achieves her goal. You can follow her schedule and progress on our facebook event and read more about her football journey at the inks below.

Thanks for being part of our team and playing your part in giving our children life-changing opportunities to achieve their goals.

Shubhangi is on her way to the UK
Shubhangi is on her way to the UK
National coverage of Shubhangi's selection
National coverage of Shubhangi's selection

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Jun 17, 2019

Summer dreams

Our kids with Aamir, Kiran Rao and Girish on set
Our kids with Aamir, Kiran Rao and Girish on set

Yesterday was the first day of the school year here in India and thanks to your support our children were among those celebrating ‘School Chale Hum’ (We’re off to school) celebrations across the country. We were really pleased to welcome more children from our local communities to our Snehalaya English Medium School where we are breaking down the stigmas facing our children by integrating them with mainstream students. It’s a particularly important year for our school as our first year of 10 Std students will face their final school exams and we are hoping they will do as well as this year’s students who attend local schools.

We are hoping they can match Mayur, our top scorer in this year’s 10th Std exams with 71.2%. When you consider how sick he was when he arrived with us just over a year ago this result is all the more impressive. So many of our children need to balance their studies with regular visits to the hospital and your support goes a long way towards funding after school tuition and encouraging them to do their best.

Now he has completed 10 Std he is ready to enrol in college and start focusing on his 12 Std exams which will take him into higher education. Like many other 16-17 year olds he is debating which subject area to focus on – arts, commerce, science, etc - and with a natural talent for languages in considering also doing a diploma in French.

We are hoping he will do as well as Baghyashree who received 82% in her 12th Std this year and will be enrolling in an arts degree in the next few weeks. She is so smart and also loves extracurricular activities, especially sport. All of which will help her in achieving her ambition of becoming a police officer.

While Mayur and Baghyashree are focused on where their futures lie some of our other children need more support and guidance in preparing to face the world, For our younger kids, it's been about making sure they have the basic reading, writing and maths skills which will help them at school while our older children have been focused on their future otions with career guidance, talks from professionals and exosure visits to colleges. An annual activity on our calendar this year we are pleased that we have been able to encourage more of our girls to consider STEM subjects with five scholarships to a mechanical engineering college specifically on offer to our beneficiaries.

In a similar vein we also organised a visit to a film studio for our children interested in a career in film and TV. We were lucky enough to go behind the scenes to see Indian superstar Aamir Khan interview our founder, Girish in a popular TV show tackling drought in India through a movement in which we are partners with Aamir’s Paani Foundation. This helped the children to see the options available behnd the camera as well as in front of it. The trip to the TV studio was followed by a quick visit to the Mumbai shoreline, which for many of the kids involved was their first ever sight of the ocean. It really was a trip to remember in a summer full of inspiration and dream building for the future.

With 60 million children missing out on school in India we are truly grateful for your support which not only allows our children to receive their full 12 years of education but also gives them the confidence to dream big and overcome the odds to achieve great results, thank you!

Do you remember seeing the sea for the first time?
Do you remember seeing the sea for the first time?
Old McDonald - ee ay ee ay ohhhhhhhhh
Old McDonald - ee ay ee ay ohhhhhhhhh

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May 28, 2019

The results are in...

Celebrating our girls results
Celebrating our girls results

Please join us as in celebrating today as our 12th Standard students’ results are announced. Thanks to your support our girls have not only completed their full 12 years of education they have also topped the results tables across our projects. This is all the more remarkable when you consider their backgrounds and the adversity they have overcome. Then, factor in the facts and realities for girls living in India, as recently shared by our partners in girls education, Malala Fund:

  • Nearly 40% of adolescent girls aged 15-18 are missing from Indian schools
  • Girls are twice as likely as boys to have had less than four years of schooling
  • 30% of girls from the poorest families have never set foot in a classroom

We are justifiably proud of each and every girl for focusing on their futures and doing all they can to break the cycles of poverty and violence they were born into.

Our top scorer, Bhagyashree from our shelter home, received 82% (with a top mark of 91% for her Marathi exam) and is now well on her way to realising her ambition of becoming a police officer. Bhagyashree is a great example of our mission to stop second generation prostitution through education. She came to Snehalaya from a local red-light area with her younger brother when she was 10 year’s old and as soon as she completed her 10th standard her mother started putting pressure on her to return home and help support her by starting work.

With our support and protection we were able to help her continue her studies and she also became a peer mentor for our Malala campaigns for education. She has been at the fore of our girls’ movement, presenting and encouraging other girls to stand strong for their rights to equality in education and help others to fight for theirs too. We are really proud of her and will continue to support and encourage her as she starts her police training.

Among the other girls from our shelter home celebrating their results are orphans of HIV/AIDS and it is extremely unlikely they would have reached 12th standard without our educational and psychological support. They are now considering their next steps and we will be using funds you donate to help them continue into higher education.

Our slum schools support 700 children from seven of our city slums and their work in after school classes and extracurricular activities have also paid off today with 38 out of 42 of their 12th Standard students passing their final college exams. Congratulations to Pratiksha who has been studying commerce and received 71% to come top of our slums table. The girls also bucked the trend by completing and excelling in science with all passing with between 65 and 75%.

Thank you so much for believing in our girls and helping them to achieve such fantastic results, we and they wouldn’t have been able to do it without you. Their futures were in your hands and you delivered! On behalf of us all we would sincerely like to thank you.

You are part of the team that makes this possible
You are part of the team that makes this possible

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