Thursday, May 20, 2010

Soham for Kids is inspired by my Mom who has always taken bi-yearly trips to Hyderabad, India going to various orphanages doling out hygiene kits, shoes, books, food, beds, benches or anything and everything that she felt that specific orphanage needed. She instilled the value of giving into the hearts of all four of her children, and helping others is something that I am committed to for life. I have learnt early on in life, it is the good things you do to help others that really makes an impact on the world.

I felt that while my Mom’s generosity was invaluable, I wanted to establish something a bit more long lasting - something that would help a community break out of the cycle of poverty. Children are the future, and educating children in an impoverished area is a way to enable those children to attain an education which can potentially give them the skills to get a job, and contribute to society, thereby giving them the tools to provide for themselves and their family. As the saying goes, ‘Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.’ Therefore, I want to give a gift that keeps on giving – education. For me, in the long term, I want Soham for Kids to eventually become a self sustaining diverse school/orphanage that continues to educate and improve the lives of poor children and orphans far into the future.

I am partnering up with Hope Foundation in India to help me run the school and take care of all administrative daily duties. Hope Foundation runs 90 programs in 22 cities throughout India and have educate 7,000 children as well as provide vocational training for 7,000 more young people every year throughout the country. Their past experience of running successful educational institutions in India resulted in a partnership between Soham for Kids and Hope Foundation in India.

Soham for Kids will be inaugurated on June 14th, and will focus on providing a secular education that focuses on learning by doing rather than memorization, which is very common in India. I want the children to enjoy learning for life, thereby encouraging an attitude that promotes the continuation of their education throughout their life. The only way to do this is to make the educational process interactive, and interesting. The school will initially start the 2010 school year in June with 60 children aged 2-5 years with three grades – nursery, lower kindergarten, and upper kindergarten. I eventually want to expand the school so we have grades 1-5. However, since we want to maintain a high quality of education, we will initially only start with nursery – upper kindergarten and move these children up to higher grades as and when they attain the level of success for that grade.

Soham for Kids will also provide two nutritional meals to students every day. In fact, UNICEF India states, ‘In India, around 46 per cent of all children below the age of three are too small for their age, 47 per cent are underweight and at least 16 per cent are wasted. Many of these children are severely malnourished.’ Providing two nutritional meals during school hours will help tackle this problem of malnutrition, and increase students’ concentration at school. Also, Soham for Kids will offer onsite medical care, and vaccinations for all students, because optimal health is essential for all of our children.

I am excited about Soham for Kids’ inauguration in June, and as a serial entrepreneur, I know that this project will be the greatest one yet because I will put in all my heart, as well as my business skills to ensure that this school runs efficiently, and effectively. Children are the future, and they thrive in a positive environment. I want Soham for Kids to be a place for poor children to learn, to grow, to develop and to eventually become successful adults who will give back to the community in their own way. It only takes one person, one vision, and drive to make positive changes in the world, so I ask you to join Team Soham and help increase awareness of our cause, because you can make all the difference.