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Asha Launches Work An Hour


Asha for Education, a global non-profit organization dedicated to the education of poor and marginalized children in India, launched its 11th annual Work An Hour (WAH) campaign on July 15th, revolving around a theme of rural empowerment: “Empowering Rural India. One Child at a Time.” WAH is a global fund raising campaign based on a simple, yet powerful concept. Citizens are asked to symbolically work an hour towards the cause of children's education by donating an hour's worth or more of their salary to Asha for Education. For more information about WAH 2008 and the projects supported, visit www.workanhour.com.
The goal for this year's campaign is $ 200,000 USD that will help fund 15 projects that focus on providing primary education to underprivileged communities across rural India.  This year, the event began on July 15th and concludes on September 15th spanning through India's Independence Day on August 15th and Teachers' Day on September 5th. Fifteen projects across Asha have been showcased in this year’s campaign.

The Indian economy is primarily agrarian. Even through the current free market & globalization trends, more than 70% of the country depends on agriculture and related industries based in the heartlands. Asha for Education recognizes gaps in India's efforts to combat the problems in rural India and seeks to fill them by supporting grassroots, community-based NGOs that work to strengthen the educational needs of India's children. Asha for Education volunteers believe that a better standard of living can be achieved for the rural population by increasing access and opportunities to education for all children in India, and children of rural communities in particular. This year’s projects are based in rural parts of the country and focus on innovative ways of strengthening the school systems through better infrastructure, teaching methods, adequate supplies and well trained teachers.

100% of all funds collected through Work An Hour go directly towards the selected projects. Keeping with Asha's long-standing policy, Asha volunteers bear all administrative and operational expenses.

Local Initiative

One of the fifteen showcased projects is being spearheaded by the local Asha Boston/MIT team (www.ashanet.org/mit) with The Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement – Tribal Center for Learning (SVYM-VTCL). SVYM is a registered voluntary social service organization working amongst the rural and tribal masses in the southern state of Karnataka in India for the last two decades and more. The project aims to fill the gap of quality science education that is available to many children and would like to handle this problem by setting up a mobile science lab. This lab will be set up on a vehicle which will travel to the schools on fixed days of the month. A trained science teacher/Demonstrator will accompany this lab and experiments will be performed in the Government schools. These experiments will be low cost and locally contextualized for the easier understanding of the students. SVYM will help mobilize support to procure the vehicle from local sources. This is expected to cost around USD 25,000. The vehicle will have solar panels on top and generate the electricity required for the experiments. Support is sought for setting up the mobile science lab and running the same for at least 6 months.

About Asha for Education

Asha for Education is a global non-profit organization dedicated to the education of poor and marginalized children in India. Started in 1991 by a group of three students in Berkeley, California, the Asha family has now grown to over 1500 volunteers in more than 70 chapters spanning four continents. With minimal overhead costs, mostly borne by volunteers, Asha for Education is able to send 100% of the donations to the projects. All projects are visited by volunteers to assess their suitability and capacity before funding can commence. Projects are also monitored regularly through a steward who reports back to volunteer project directors.
Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org), the premier independent evaluator of charities in the United States, has awarded Asha for Education with its highest rating in the categories   "Top Ten Charities Worth Watching" and "Top Ten Slam Dunk Charities". This is primarily in recognition of Asha's low overheads, efficiency in fund raising and donor privacy policy.

For more information about Asha for Education’s Work An Hour 2008 Drive, please visit www.workanhour.com

For inquiries: Asha for Education Boston/MIT, Rakesh Soni, rakesh.soni@gmail.com

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