Kriti - working with the urban poor  
  
 
 
Kriti Scholarship Program
Based on the belief that every child has a right to education, the Kriti Scholarship Program identifies children who are at the risk of dropping out schooling and provides them with financial assistance and mentoring to ensure they complete education at least till Xth grade.
 
We find that the government is not investing enough in education. Despite targets to set up schools under RTE, the number of government schools is inadequate to meet the needs of the large number of people in slums in Hyderabad. In the Film Nagar slums alone, for a population of 5000 - 6000 families, the government schools only have a capacity for 600 children at primary level and 300 children at high school level. This is far below the requirement. Thus 80% of children are studying in private schools. The school fees are a significant burden on the family.
 
Kriti identifies families where the parents are very interested in educating their children and have educated them to some level. However due to tough financial situation, they are not able to manage the fees anymore and the children are at a risk of dropping out of schooling.
This is a program with no overheads – all donations received go directly towards the school fees. The selection of children, administration of disbursements, regular meetings with the children is done entirely through volunteer efforts. The program started in 2010 with around 30 kids and currently provides financial assistance to over 300 children from the poorest families in the slums.
 
Description of the program
The Kriti Scholarship program provides financial assistance and mentoring to school age children from the poorest families in the slums to ensure that all children complete education till at least Grade 10.
 
Main features of the program:
  • Children are selected based on evaluation of the financial position of the family. Orphans, Single parent families, families with other burdens such as medical issues for a family member, physical or mental disability are selected.
  • Monthly School fees paid for children from nursery to Xth class and few in college.
  • Monthly workshops with the children to inculcate habits of reading, increase general awareness, problem solving skills, communication etc are held.
 
Impact
  • Children from these very vulnerable families finish their basic education and are in a position to take up better paying jobs and become economically self-reliant
  • Help improve the self esteem, communication skills and general knowledge of the children to ensure emotional stability and better long-term career prospects.
  • In the last 5 years, we have stopped several children from dropping out of school, helped over 150 children complete grade 10, helped 2 children complete Undergraduate degree in Engineering and Nursing.
 
Mentoring Program
We believe that mentoring of the children and their parents is key to make sure that the children stay in school and motivate them to finish school and study higher. Towards this end, we meet with all the children in the scholarship program at least once a month and meet their mothers once a month.

We have 3 groups for mentoring: Grades 3 to 6, grades 7 to 9 and grade 10. Topics are chosen based on interest and age group. Sessions are held once a month for younger children and twice a month for children in Grade 10.
 
Some of the topics discussed with the younger children include, importance of education, hygiene, work ethics, gender sensitivity, tolerance, Science experiments, information on the world.

Children in Grade 10 are taught how to study with techniques such as mind mapping, how to plan, plan for their goals with a session on career counselling etc.

All children are provided a healthy snack and taken for a picnic once a year.
 
How the Scholarship program works
Each year, the scholarship program begins at the start of the academic year in June. During the months of April and May, we evaluate the parents and children with various criteria and also meet with the schools and negotiate fees for the rest of the academic year.
As a part of the assessment we look at:
  1. Financial situation
  2. Attendance of the student
  3. Marks in various exams during the previous school year
  4. Child’s interest in going to schoo
  5. Parents interest in sending the child to school
  6. Effort of the parents to work hard and improve their livelihood
 
The Scholarship program runs exclusively on donations from friends and family of Kriti. Funding for the scholarship program is raised each year based on the need and the number of children enrolled in the program. Donors are requested to send money at the beginning of the school year (June). Based on the funds raised, we map the number of children whose education we are able to support for the academic year.
 
We will then communicate to the schools and parents about their enrolment into the scholarship program for the academic year. We will also be able to look for additional sponsors in case of shortfall.
 
Sponsorship Options:
  • Sponsoring a child’s education for a period of time, Say 3 or 5 years.
  • Sponsoring fees for the entire year. Average fees per year for a child in our program for the year 2017-18 is Rs. 10,000. This amount could change minimally each year. Please contact Kriti to get the accurate sponsorship amount for a year.
  • Sponsoring books and uniforms for children costs an additional amount of Rs. 2000 per child per year.
  • We are willing to take any amounts that will help the program run successfully. The cost of food at the monthly mentoring meetings for the children and mothers is about $2500 a month. (Food for children includes a banana and an Egg).
 
All donations are tax exempt through section 80-G of Indian Tax Code. We also are able to accept donations in foreign currency. Please contact Sreelata at sreelata@gmail.com for additional information.