Funding education of children of widows
After enduring the daily grind, hardships and turmoil, Vandana Acharya (45), a widow and mother of Class 8 boy Mayank, is able to heave a sigh of relief and can even smile a bit. For, she is a beneficiary of an Assistance to Widows Programme (AWP) of RC Jodhpur, RID 3053, which is presenting cheques to widowed mothers of students to cover their school fees and other educational expenses. “I shudder to think what would have happened to me and my son if Rotary has not intervened with this cash grant at a very critical time of our lives. We are forever indebted to Rotary,” says Vandana.
So far, 750 beneficiaries in Jodhpur have availed the cash assistance valued at around ₹80 lakh over the last 10 years. AWP coordinator C P Sancheti who initiated the project with the support of RC Windsor, RID 6400, Canada, and its affiliated Canadian World Education Foundation (CWEF), a global NGO, goes down memory lane to recall the way AWP crystallised in August 2011.
An elderly couple, Om Chandna and his wife, from Canada were touring Rajasthan in March 2011. They were looking for help to shift their luggage from the platform to the train coach at the Jaipur Railway Station as they were going to Jodhpur. Kapil Sancheti, son of project coordinator, who was about to board the same rail carriage helped the couple with their luggage. While travelling with them, he noted that Chandna was having a Rotary pin on his lapel and informed him that his father too was a Rotarian, a member of RC Jodhpur. “Kapil invited the couple, members of RC Windsor, to our house in Jodhpur. I took them to our club and around some of our projects — Rotary School, Rotary Circle and other community initiatives being done by us,” says Sancheti.
I shudder to think what would have happened to me and my son if Rotary has not intervened with this cash grant at a very critical time of our lives. We are forever indebted to Rotary.
— Vandana Acharya, a beneficiary
Chandna was elated to see the multifarious projects being done in Jodhpur and expressed his wish to do a joint programme with our club. “After a few months, Chandna informed me from Canada about the cash assistance programme his club was doing for widowed mothers of students at various schools in India and Kenya,” recalls Sancheti. He wanted to fund widowed mothers in Jodhpur who were struggling to educate their children through the CWEF. Already, the NGO was providing grants to mothers of 1,300 students in India each year at that time, Aug-Sep 2011, in a joint endeavour with RC Windsor.
The first grant
Following paper work and other formalities to kickstart the AWP, the NGO provided ₹2 lakh for widowed mothers of 31 children studying at the Rotary School, Jodhpur, in 2012–13. “We continued this for four years till 2016, when Chandna wanted to enlist more schools in the programme. We then added 16 Adarsh Vidya Mandirs. Each year, we are giving cheques worth ₹10–12 lakh to widowed mothers,” explains Sancheti. Both the Rotary club and Adarsh schools are contributing 10 per cent of the total annual grant which is deposited in an AWP bank account.
Through CWEF, the Jodhpur club funds children till they finish their higher education. “The cheques from Rotary are a great boon for my daughter, Kusum, studying in Class 4. I am confident of a bright career for her, and her college education will also be funded by them,” says Suraj Kanwar (35).
A chartered accountant-turned-
granite entrepreneur, Sancheti (72) is the chairman of 32-year-old Navjyoti Manovikas Kendra, a school for differently-abled with a strength of 104 children. “We run two colleges offering two-year diploma and B Ed courses for training teachers for this special school.” In 1997–98, he set up an ICU with four beds (₹8.5 lakh) at the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital, Jodhpur, in memory of his late mother Madan Kanwar Sancheti, and a few years later, added another ICU with six beds (₹15 lakh) adjacent to the existing unit. “I felt happy to motivate my relatives to set up three ICUs and two acute care wards, all worth ₹1 crore, at two government hospitals,” he says.
One comment on “Funding education of children of widows”
Rotary news is of great help to me to know what projects are going on through Rotary clubs across India.