Affirmative Action in Education
Vatsalya Ashramshala at Vikramgad
Vatsalya Ashramshala is our pilot project, and we intend creating a cluster development model that will assist in holistic development of tribal students. Our intervention is planned to be a holistic one spanning education to employment which will include: providing infrastructure, soft skills and all round development of the students.
The cluster development model encompasses Education, Employability and Employment/ Entrepreneurship. Our intervention envisions including providing Education Loans for students who want to pursue higher education as well as Business Loans for those who wish to start their own enterprises.
The cluster development model reaches out to empower students through various specialized NGOs, which we have identified and partnered with:
- Magic Bus (All round personality development through sports)
- Pratham Education Foundation(Assessment of learning levels, introducing English through the local language and Financial literacy)
- Pragati Pratishthan (School for Hearing and Speech impaired children and Ashramshala) 0
Upon completion of X standard, the students will be given opportunities for further studies or enrolment in vocational training and the Armed Forces, leading to employability/ employment. We regularly conduct career guidance sessions with the students of Vatsalya Ashramshala.
This program aims at holistic development of the children from the underprivileged community by motivating and mentoring them to evolve a positive attitude and behaviour in three values (Education, Health and Gender Equality) and for Socio-Emotional Development. This is to help the children to evolve into confident and competent youth thus empowering them to get a better livelihood of their choice.
Magic Bus conducts indoor and outdoor activities for children on Sports for development with focus areas like education, health and hygiene, gender equality, Right to play and socio-emotional skill.
There are three programs running by Magic Bus foundation at Vatsalya
- Holistic Development: This program aims at the holistic development of children from underprivileged communities by motivating and mentoring them to evolve positive attitude and to develop socio economic skills. This is to help empower the children and transform them into a competent and confident youth, thereby helping them achieve a livelihood of their choice.
- Sports for Development: Helps the best athletes in Vatsalya to build their skills in Kabaddi and Kho Kho. It provides a structured training and development route across a number of sports for talented young athletes (aged 10-12 years) who have a real chance of excelling in their sport.
- Work Readiness Program: Magic Bus has initiated an intervention at the Ashram School with the students of 9th and 10th grade with an objective of providing them inputs on financial literacy, IT, Career guidance and Basic employability skills which will help them to make a transition from school to work place seamlessly.
Pratham Education Foundation
Pratham Education Foundation aims at improving the children's learning levels at the Ashramshala through an English Language intervention. Pratham aims to take the students' learning levels from basic reading fluency acquisition to higher competency levels.
English Language intervention: Introduction of the English Language (through Marathi) for students from standard I to X.
Pragati Pratishthan is an NGO that works with speech and hearing impaired tribals. They provide breakfast to the children at Vatsalya. With the help of Pragati Prathisthan, we have developed a weekly timetable for the children, keeping in mind the nutrition elements needed for school children.
Tata Capital is a firm advocate of Affirmative Action and education. In order to promote technical and professional education among underprivileged students, the company has initiated a scholarship program under the brand name 'Pankh' which means 'Wings'. The objective of the Pankh Scholarship program is to mentor and fund higher education of academic achievers from economically underprivileged and Affirmative Action families. The uniqueness of this program is that this is entirely driven through the employees of the company and the beneficiaries are from the employees support circle viz. children of their drivers, house helps and deserving children from their villages.
The employees nominate deserving candidates they know of and who require a sponsorship to complete their higher studies. Shortlisted candidates go through an interview process before the final cases are selected. A pre requisite of the program is that the employee has to be the mentor of the candidate whom they are recommending. This also helps in tracking the students on their performance and final placements as well, once they successfully complete their course.
Till date, 66 Pankh Scholarships have been awarded of which 26 have gone to SC/ST children. 21 of the students did/ are doing engineering courses, 4 students are doing Medical courses, with the rest dispersed among medical, BSc and other courses. Students studying in colleges in Maharashtra (9) and Karnataka (8) dominate but assistance is also extended to students studying in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, Mumbai and Madhya Pradesh. Rs 38.72 lakh has been spent to date on the scheme.
A few Pankh Scholarships recipients:
- Kajal Kadam: Kajal is from a dalit family from Thane whose widowed mother is a domestic worker and is the only earning member in the family, supporting her and three siblings. Kajal had scored 90% in the SSC exam but was struggling to do her 3-year Diploma course in Computer Engineering from the Government Polytechnic College, Pune. The Thane-Pune commute was a huge challenge till her mentor, Mr. Ganesh Iyer (Commercial Finance Risk Department) requested the company to let her stay in the hostel and reimburse her hostel fees. Kajal went on to score 81% in her diploma course and is now doing a BE course from Don Bosco, Kurla.
- Vikas Kamble: Vikas's mother works as a domestic help in Khoparkhairne, Navi Mumbai. A bright student, he scored 82% in his Higher Secondary Certificate examination. Mr. Ashok Karkera (Learning and Development, Retail and Rural Finance) recommended his case for funding the full tuition fee for the B.Sc course in Information Technology at the Pillai College in Panvel. When Vikas was struggling to understand the concepts of Java, Mr Karkera made available relevant books which helped Vikas clear his concepts. Mr Karkera also played a major role in guiding Vikas in finalising the project which he had to submit as a part of the selection process with TCS-Ignite. Vikas has joined TCS in July 2016.
- K Gowtham: Gowtham is the third scholar who has completed his studies. Gowtham's father is a driver who was finding it difficult to pay the college fees for his son's four-year degree course in bio-technology in a Bangalore college. His name was proposed by Mr. Sukumar Rajan (National Credit Manager, TCFSL). Gowtham went on to complete his course with 78% marks and is now a Process Associate with First American India.