Carving a better future

Carving a better future
Narendra was in Class VII in a community school and was the first kid to go to school from his family. His father is an auto driver and his mom works as a maid. While his parents wanted him to continue schooling, financial constraints had almost made them discontinue his education.

In 2015, Bengaluru-based organisation Parinaam Foundation counselled his parents and enrolled him into their academic adoption programme. He was admitted to an English medium school and he surprised everyone by being a quick learner. He graduated from Class X with 75%. He is now looking forward to study further and is taking initial steps to break the poverty cycle. This is just one of the many ways by which Parinaam Foundation aims to alleviate poverty.

The foundation engages in holistic interventions focused on education, social development and financial independence for the underprivileged. The endeavour is to create a self-sustaining environment that brings lasting changes to the lives of urban poor. “We work with people who do not have access to basic human necessities. When we start working in the slums, most children are wandering around aimlessly or go to work with their parents. We strive to change this with our interventions. This can range from something as basic as opening a bank account and teaching them how to use it to putting children into school and enabling them to carve a better future,” reveals Mallika Ghosh, executive director, Parinaam Foundation.

Making a difference

The foundation has helped over 800  school-going children in Karnataka, worked with 2,800 families of ultra poor communities in Bengaluru. About 87,000 women and 15,000 children have participated in Diksha, the foundation’s financial literacy programme, across 15 districts of Karnataka. Individual and corporate contributions are the main sources of their funds. “While we have had a fair amount of support through the years, we find that our home city, Bengaluru is not aware of the good work Parinaam does. We believe that if we can get the word out to more people in our city, they will come together to change the lives of the children and the families we work with,” says Mallika.

Parinaam Foundation does not believe that their job ends with just putting a child into school; volunteers go on to support the family with a range of interventions ranging from livelihood development to access to social and financial services, childcare and healthcare.

Take the case of nine-year-old Parvati and her family who live in a slum in Arehalli, Bengaluru. In February 2017, Parvati was diagnosed with a hole in her heart. She needed to undergo a critical surgery which was estimated to cost Rs two lakh. Her parents, Shashikala and Nandish, have a combined monthly income of Rs 12,000. With no access to credit facility, this was not an amount they could afford. “Parinaam Foundation took up the case through the ‘medical intervention programme’ and approached Jayadeva hospital. We applied for the Vajapayee Arogyashree scheme which got approved and the whole surgery cost was borne by the grant,” says Mallika.

Anil Kumar is another school-going child who has benefited from the foundation’s academic adoption programme. “Though my parents don’t earn enough to send me and my siblings to good schools, I always fostered a dream of becoming a software engineer. Through the academic adoption programme, I shifted from the local Kannada medium school to a English medium school in 2014. I am now looking forward to complete my education to make my parents proud and financially secure,” says Anil, who stays in Thubarahalli, Bengaluru with his family.

Mariyamma who lives in a slum in Donnekundi, Bengaluru is another beneficiary. She and her husband were construction labourers and had a combined income of approximately Rs 9,000 per month. She often fell sick due to heavy physical activity and she found it difficult to take her two young kids along with her to work. The foundation counselled her about alternate employment and helped her find a new livelihood. “We were successful in getting her a housekeeping job at a hospital close to her house. At her new place of work, she was entitled to benefits like Provident Funds, Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) and overtime bonus perks. Her family income has now doubled and both her kids now go to school,” says Mallika.

The foundation has worked hard over the years to make sure their programmes are making a difference. “By 2018, we would like to touch over 10,000 poor families in Bengaluru,” reveals Mallika. “We strongly believe that maximum funds should go to the child or beneficiary we are helping. Our programmes should have a long-lasting impact on the families and give the children a much better future.” To know more, visit
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