Q.1 What do you do?
Purkal Youth Development Society (PYDS) is a registered NGO which emerged as a response to the lack of quality education for economically disadvantaged youth in this rural area. We are located in the village of Purkal (where the CEO lives), a ‘backward’ rural area in the foothills of the Himalayas. There is a great lack of quality education, employment and healthcare opportunities for local people. Agriculture, though still widely practiced here, is becoming increasingly difficult and less economically viable. Existing government schools suffer from higher teacher absentee rates and general lack of resources.
A few years back, the prevailing notion in the community was that attending any school should result in employment and other opportunities. Because the quality of education was so poor, young people were not being selected for jobs or higher education, and so PYDS was established with the goal of providing quality comprehensive education at the least possible cost to needy local young people. (Read more about our history here) PYDS provides excellent English instruction, nutrition, a range of extra/co-curricular activities, medical attention, and emphasizes the child’s overall well-being as we help them become future leaders. (Read more about our future here)
Our sister society Stree Shakti provides employment to over 100 local women through the art of applique and patchwork. Their facility is on our campus and their children attend our Early Childhood Learning Centre. Visit their website by clicking here.
Q.2 What is different about PYDS?
We think what stands out most about PYDS are certainly the youngsters we are working with. Visitors to our school often remark that the excitement for learning and the eagerness with which PYDS students face their futures is inspiring and contagious.
This is perhaps because of a few factors. 1) We select children based on economic need and academic potential 2) We provide them a range of services to from 4 feedings a day to yoga to computer time to traditional dance to field trips across the country 3) We are committed to their success in the long-term. Some of our first students are now finishing degrees as Chartered Accountants or Computer Engineers and continue to receive our support
We have received some notable recognition in the form of certification from GiveIndia, Samhita Foundation, and the Charity Aid Foundation (which approves a very small percentage of the NGOs it reviews). An article about us was published recently in the leading education magazine Education World.
We have been lucky to have the outstanding help of dozens of volunteers from around the world, many of whom also return on a regular basis to collaborate with us, in addition to helping with fundraising back home. And, all of our board members and Chief Director work for free.
Lastly, we maintain relationships with nearly 500 patrons, most of whom continue to support us year after year. These patrons provide invaluable support and encouragement to our students. Please read about becoming a Patron here.
Q.3 Where does the money come from?
Most of our money comes from donations, usually from generous individuals. We are slowly receiving some support from foundations and businesses, but as a registered NGO we do not receive any support from the government. Families of our beneficiary children who are in an economic position to contribute one day’s income a month are currently doing so and these contributions are added only to our Reserve Fund. These contributions are not to cover student expenses and in fact only account for a mere 5% of our annual budget.
Q.4 Is the education and other facilities entirely free?
No fees are charged by the School but most families contribute their mite.
The School does not charge any fees from its students. Children attend PYDS thanks to the kind support of people around India and the world that make donations to our cause. This has allowed us to provide free excellent education and comprehensive support in terms of uniforms, food and medical aid and transportation etc. to our children. We have worked hard to assure that your children receive this excellent support and education every day of the year, and this support is not cheap. These are the costs for a student in each of the programmes during the year 2012-13.:
- ECLC (3-5 years old) = Rs. 29,854 per year
- Day Boarding: Rs. 41,000 per year
- SPRY (16-18 years old) = Rs. 88,000 per year
We are committed to continuing to provide them this education with no fees.
However, in order to be sure we can continue offering our best, we must be prepared for any unforeseen emergencies. For this reason we are establishing a Reserve Fund, a savings account where we will have a back-up of funds in case we should ever need them. For instance, what would happen if the buildings of our school were wiped out by an earthquake? Or what would happen if some of our biggest funders suffered a misfortune and could never send us another rupee? What would we do in the meantime? We are thinking of these things, and want to be prepared. That is why we are establishing this Reserve Fund.
If we have a good amount of money in the bank and something unfortunate happens we could carry on as soon as possible, providing our children excellent education as always.
We can do this with the help of parents who are in a financial situation that would allow them to make a regular contribution to this Fund. At a recent Board Meeting the Directors agreed that we should begin collecting contributions of one day of a family’s wages, per month- in order to strengthen this Fund.
We will evaluate each family’s economic situation and will not collect from families who we know are not in a position to share. Families who are able to contribute one day’s wages per month might find pride in helping strengthen the school that is giving so much to their children, thanks to the help of so many others. Some of the parents who are more able may be able to pay more than a day’s income of the family as a contribution to this fund.
In future therefore instead of saying that the facilities at the School are entirely free we will say that most families contribute their mite, related to their ability. A fee is a sum exacted as recompense and what we collect is therefore not a fee. It is not uniform in nature nor is it compensation.
Since all expenses for a year will get funded from the year’s collections, these contributions will normally be credited to our Reserve Fund from year to year. In this sense, the learning and the facilities at our academy are indeed free.
Q.5 How old are your beneficiaries?
As for PYDS, our ECLC takes students from age 3, and we are currently following our students well into their professional careers.
As your read about our Community Projects you will learn that we are providing benefits to community members of all ages, babies to grandparents are impacted by our work.
Q.6 Is the PYDS model sustainable/replicable?
We ran for 14 years entirely on donations and have never had a gap in our services due to lack of funding.
We are however increasingly concerned with sustainability as our project grows. We are currently
- Establishing a Reserve Fund
- Strengthening our Corpus fund through regular donation commitments
- Seeking out Corporate Sponsorships
- Assuring our fixed assets are of high quality and compliant with all necessary requirements (land, buildings, machinery, buses, etc.
We strongly believe that we have developed a replicable model and that it can be organised in any community where economically disadvantaged people seek a holistic development plan for their bright youth. We would be happy to facilitate the replication of this model in another community with support from a Foundation or a Corporation.
Q.7 Are local people involved?
PYDS education is strictly limited to the children of the locals. Parents are invited to monthly Parents’ Evenings were they are able to see their children’s progress first-hand, in an audio/visual delivery method appropriate to the community (Parents who did not themselves have access to education are not always able to appreciate their students’ work when it comes home in the written form). For that reason we perform plays, sing and dance, showcase art, recite poems, etc. This builds a relationship between parents and PYDS, and we find they are more likely to approach us with questions and concerns once this trust is established.
In addition, at least 100 local women are employed by Stree Shakti, and on an average about 50 local men have access to regular employment at PYDS. Many of our teachers are local women.
Q.8 What impacts have you had?
Great impacts have been made on students’ confidence levels and aspirations because of their experiences with PYDS. Some more measurable impacts that can be attributed to PYDS’ presence in the community are as follows:
- Body Mass Indices of most of our continuing students have reached optimal levels and illness rates have dropped dramatically
- Girl children represent 55% of our student body (initially education in the area was restricted mostly to boys)
- Reports of domestic violence against women, female infanticide, and early marriage have decreased with direct references made to participation in Stree Shakti
- 48 out of 48 PYDS graduates have received professional training. 13 are serving the Society while completing their higher education, 15 others are continuing their degrees at higher education institutions (one of our graduates has even gone abroad to the Asian University for women with a full scholarship), and 9 have already embarked on successful careers outside of PYDS .
Q.9 What are your goals for the future?
- Secure CBSE affiliation and offer classes 11 and 12
- Reach Rs. 200 Lacs in the Reserve Fund
- Attain lower teacher attrition rates
- Establish more relationships with Corporations and Foundations
- We would like to improve our kitchen, dining room, art and music room, build a multipurpose hall (drama, indoor sports), and provide laundry and bathing areas for children
Our academic goals:
LIFE SKILLS: We propose an increased focus on critical thinking as integral to becoming successful world citizens. We intend to further this through increased emphasis on life skills acquired through Science, Math, English and extra/co-curricular activities. We expect that our 3 new science labs will generate excitement through experiential learning. We propose to use science as a tool for igniting inquisition about the world. We want our students asking WHY questions, which will lead them to experimenting about how to create change. We emphasize Math for the opportunities it provides for logical thinking, problem solving and consequentiality. We want a greater emphasis not only on English as a medium of teaching but also as a method for thinking. Lastly we want to continue to provide innovative extra/co-curricular activities through which students can acquire life skills by applying knowledge from other areas (For instance we are currently taking a part and reassembling a bike and a computer. We also want students to apply what they have learned in math and science through a carpentry workshop will also learning a new and valuable skill set.)
We would also want our children to appreciate their mother tongue and their literature. Their heritage needs to be preserved by them. The need to improve methods that will stimulate the interest of the students in both Hindi and Sanskrit are therefore part of our Mission.
Q.10 What can I do to help?
We would greatly appreciate your help, in any capacity. Please consider volunteering, fundraising or donating. If you have something specific you feel inclined to share, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are a member of a Corporation or Foundation (or have connections with an interested one), we would love to collaborate with you. Please read more about PYDS/Corporate Collaboration here.
A corporate partnership with PYDS offers:
- A new way to engage, motivate and unite your staff through working towards a compelling common cause.
- Added value to your brand and reputation by partnering with a reliable grassroots organisation helping create future leaders.
- Exciting venues for change coming out of the synergies between our organisations.
- An excellent opportunity for your business to demonstrate corporate social responsibility.
A successful partnership between Your Corporation & PYDS is forged through:
- An agreement at the beginning of the partnership on objectives, resource utilisation and key performance indicators.
- Follow-up through report sharing, utilization certificates, and recognition of your Corporation through various public displays
Please contact us at email@example.com. Similarly, Please read about our contribution options
Q.11 Are there people volunteering or are they paid?
Both. We have volunteers from both India and abroad, and all of our Board members work entirely volunteers. They receive no remuneration or reimbursement at all.
All of our teachers and support staff are paid. We try to appoint local staff, and help develop skills and professionalism in them.
Q.12 How many people work in the Society?
In 2011 – 12 we had 51 people on staff, including 35 teachers, drivers, cooks,
This continues to grow as the School takes its final shape.
Q.13 Why only some children?
We select children on the basis of poverty, and then on potential to succeed, including willingness to work hard.
Q.14 Is this unfair?
We only have limited funds donated by wellwishers and we need to invest this as wisely as we can.
Q.15 What happens to the other children?
They continue in their local schools. However it is our belief that having at least one child in a family group attending PYDS there is a flow on to the other children who learn by example.
Q.16 Are their brothers and sisters jealous?
We can only rely on informal feedback, but it seems that the other family members are proud to have one of their family attending PYDS. They know that the benefits that the PYDS student will flow onto all the family.
Q.17 Do you support them after they leave you?Are they able to fit into their society after they have been through your school?
Where the graduate and their parents wish, we provide on-going support, through our On to Life Programme.
Q.18 Do they leave the villages.
All our students are keen to come back as soon as they acquired professional degree and some experiance. We expect most of them to participate in the intramural initiative that are already running in the community.
Q.19 What kind of teachers do you have?
Our teachers are usually university educated young people, in their first job. All of them are on their way to become qualified in education and are actiovely undergoing several teacher training programme.
Q.20 Are parents involved
Parents are involved as far as is practicable. Because they often have little or no education of their own, it is difficult for them to engage meaningfully in school matters. To address this we have commenced a programme of parents’ evenings each month, where the children perform drama, music and song. We use this opportunity to not only showcase the advances that the children have made, but to induct the parents into the value of education. In time we hope to increasingly engage the parents as their children’s progress is very dependent on parental support.
Recentaly we have constituted a committee considering parents representative to help us further several of our school initiative. Two of them are also member of our School Management Committee.