Thursday, September 14, 2006

An Appeal - Please Donate Generously

India – the second most populous country in the world – has the highest absolute number of out-of-school children. According to the MICS 2000 survey (link), almost 27 million school-age children in India do not attend school, or one out of four. India alone accounts for 23% of the world's total.

Founded in 1991 at the University of California at Berkeley, Asha (meaning “hope” in several Indian languages) for Education emerged out of the desire to bring hope to the lives of underprivileged children of India. It also represents the collective hope of volunteers working together to bring about change in the lives of underprivileged children. Deprived of access to education, millions of Indian children grow up unprepared to face the economic and political challenges of the twenty-first century. We believe that addressing the problem of education is critical in breaking the "vicious cycle" of poverty.

Asha, with its 66 chapters across the world, is an organization that is run entirely by volunteers - volunteers like me, and my wife. My own chapter - the Silicon Valley Chapter - disbursed $250,000 in support of 27 projects across India in 2005. Through these projects, we are making a difference - contributing our mite to the socio-economic transformation of India. Click here to see a site-visit report I wrote for one such Asha-supported project.

As someone lucky enough to have received a good education, and as an Asha volunteer,

I have committed to:
  • Raise at least $2120 for Asha to fund ongoing projects in India to provide basic education to the underprivileged children.

  • Complete the marathon training and complete the Silicon valley Marathon on Oct. 29th 2006.

Imagine - I had never run more than a couple of miles at a stretch before joining TeamAsha. On July 30th 2006 I ran the San Francisco Half Marathon (13.1 miles) - an awesome experience! The picture at the top of this page is me nearing the finish of the half marathon in Golden Gate Park.

Here's your opportunity to help!

"Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others... he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F. Kennedy

You too can send out a ripple of hope by donating to Asha and contributing to my fundraising effort. Every Dollar (or Rupee, Pound, whatever) you contribute will go towards the cause of educating underprivileged children in India.

You can choose to contribute:
  1. Approx. $1 for every mile I run: $25
  2. Approx. $2 for every mile I run: $50
  3. Approx. $4 for every mile I run: $100
  4. Choose your own contribution!

According to Charity Navigator, the largest charity evaluator in America, Asha ranks number one in a list of "Top Ten Slam Dunk Charities" and is also number one in the list of "Top Ten Charities Worth Watching".

How to donate?

  • Credit Card: Please click here to donate using credit card over a secure connection.
  • Check / Cash: Please contact me if you want to donate via check or cash.
  • Employer Matching: If your employer has a donation matching program, please contact me after making a donation. You need to send me your company's matching form filled out with the amount you donated.

Though a credit card is preferred, cash and check are also welcome! Please make sure to write my runner id 2006TA294 on your check. An official receipt will provided, no matter which method you choose for donation. All donations are 100% tax deductible in the U.S. under Section 501(c)(3) (Tax Id 770 45 9884).

Thank you for your donation!

Post marathon update: Please see this.


Anonymous Curious to the core said...

Congratulations Sid for embarking on this very noble cause. Good luck for the marathon!!

September 18, 2006 4:05 PM  
Blogger Abhi said...

Congratulations for the great work.

Check out this video about RSS's 70,000 service project in India

September 28, 2006 6:49 PM  
Anonymous B Shantanu said...

When you have a moment, do have a look at this post:

It has details about some allegations towards Dr Pandey. Have you ever come across them before? and if you have, what do you think about them?


June 23, 2007 12:41 PM  
Blogger Siddhartha Shome said...

Hi Shantanu, Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog.

Regarding Sandeep Pandey, yes he is involved in all kinds of political activism. However, he does not hold any position within Asha and does not have any leadership role within Asha. It has been this way for years. Some Asha chapter does (or at least used to) support, to a limited extent, the Lalpur Ashram, in which Sandeep is involved. The Asha supported Lalpur project is involved only in education and in RTI activities only, not in any political activism.

Asha volunteers are not required in any way to subscribe to Sandeep’s political views (though they are free to do so if they wish). I myself am a proud and active Asha volunteer, and I hold a leadership position at the Asha Silicon Valley Chapter. I openly and publicly disagree with Sandeep on most of his political views - see, for example, this article on my blog. I do tend to agree with him on RTI-related issues.

Asha is a highly decentralized and democratic organization. Chapters function pretty much independently, without any sort of “high command” mentality. There is no question of Sandeep Pandey (or anybody else, for that matter) dictating to our chapter what to do or not do.

Also AID and Asha are completely independent organizations. Asha and AID do collaborate sometimes sometimes on projects and/or fundraisers, as we do with various other organizations such as Vibha, Sankara Eye Foundation, a number of Vivekananda-inspired organizations, etc. I am an Asha volunteer and I disagree strongly with many of AID’s campaigns, such as on the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) issue (my views on the NBA can be found here).

[I've also posted this same comment also posted on Shantanu' blog]

June 29, 2007 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Preston said...

This is cool!

September 13, 2013 12:52 AM  

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