StudyMall

Tag: Rural education in maharashtra

StudyMall received Digital Trail Blazer Award 2016.

Our project “StudyMall” received Digital Trail Blazer Award at Digital India Conclave event . This Award was presented by Hon’ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra Mr.Devendra Fadnavis  for bringing digital education to rural children of Maharashtra.
The Digital India conclave was presented by HP India in association with India Today Television and KPMG. 

Digital Trial Blazer award presented to Us. all-team
The Digital India Conclave is India’s first conclave that brings together the best of minds, talent and people with a varied range of expertise in the digital field from all over the country.

We were honored to share the award with 4 other esteemed organisations.

all-jury1) AAPLE SARKAR APP, DEPARTMENT OF I.T – GOVT. OF MAHARASHTRA initiative which address public grievances while ensuring participative governance. The ‘Aaple Sarkar’ portal and app are monitored by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in Maharashtra and is a platform for citizens to participate in discussions on the development of the state.

2)  ANTI CORRUPTION APP, ANTI CORRUPTION BUREAU –Anti- Corruption Bureau in Maharashtra is a high tech solution to deal with the menace of evidence tampering and to  report on corruption.

3) ROJGAR WAHINI, DEPT OF SKILL DEV, EMPLOYMENT & ENTREPRENEURSHIP, Maharashtra Govt-Rojgar Wahini is a Government of Maharashtra initiative which provides  free services like vocational guidance, job opportunities and self-employment guidance to job seekers.

4) MAHARASHTRA VIDHAN BHAVAN, DEPT OF I.T – GOVT. OF MAHARASHTRA-This inititative has made  legislative business paperless,  members of legislative council (MLCs) and members of legislative assembly (MLAs) post their questions and resolutions online. The legislators would also be able to check previous records and even get a written reply on this tab.

The event was filled with inspiration and motivation as the dignitaries shared their thoughts and plans in their speech. It was amazing to see how digitization will help us to resolve society’s  problems and take India to next level.

We are now charged with more enthusiasm to take digital education to every needy rural parts and villages  of India.

  • santoshThanks to our supporter without whom this honor would not have been possible.

    We are very honored to have received this award for our effort to digitize education in 3 villages of Maharashtra.   We are helping village children read, learn and play and thus increasing their study time, study interest, knowledge base of extra curricular activities, hobbies, games etc .

  • Through this project “StudyMall” we aim to give village children an equal chance to be a empowered citizens of India.     

  • We were honored to have chance to listen to dignitaries of the event which included AMITABH NAG, Head: Digital India- HP Inc, DEEPAK SAWANT, Minister – Public Health & Family Welfare: Minister for Public Health and Family Welfare, DR. JAIJIT BHATTACHARYA, Partner, Infrastructure & Government Services- KPMG India, KAUSTUBH DHAVSE, Officer On Special Duty to the Chief Minister’s Office,K.M PRASANNA, Asst. Police Commissioner, Mumbai Crime Branch and V.K GAUTAM, Principal Secretary- Information Technology, Government of Maharashtrsantosh-n-stage
  • More information on event can be found at http://indiatoday.intoday.in/digitalindia/2016/trailblazer.jsp

You can donate and support us too..http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate –http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

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StudyMall project presented at CSIM (Centre for social initiative and management)

A room full of enthusiastic social change makers and experienced professionals along with their teachers and mentors ready to listen about Thinksharp Foundation “StudyMall” on a Saturday evening was a sign of there commitment towards there passion of starting something to help society.  Students doing course on NGO management and social  entrepreneurship were excited to listen what I have to tell them on managing StudyMall project under Thinksharp Foundation.

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We Thinksharp Foundation team was invited by CSIM Hyderabad to speak about our journey and management of NGO to students of CSIM this year in month of June. As our Founder was on not available, this great opportunity came to me to present StudyMall to CSIM students.

CSIM launched a centre in Hyderabad in 2002, by networking with Dr.Reddy’s Foundation. This centre has emerged as a prominent learning and networking centre for social workers, NGOs and budding social entrepreneurs in Hyderabad. CSIM offer a  Certificate Course in NGO Management and Social Entrepreneurship which is of  4.5 months duration and provides basic principles of management and entrepreneurship in  non-profit organization while retaining its social mission. (http://www.csim.in/csim-hyderabad.php) .

I was very much excited and bit nervous too to be speaking in front of professional students and teachers from professional course of social entrepreneurship. A big help and motivation was Dr.Shrivastav sir (Director CSIM Hyderabad)  who helped us from finding a comfortable slot to visit CSIM, then extending help on phone continuously  to find the location and being perfect host for us during the actual talk.

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As I started my presentation, it was more of very fruitful discussion where students (actually social entrepreneurs) had  questions like why and how we started, and why we named it StudyMall , one of the most interesting question was how do I volunteer and  helping StudyMall despite my  full time job and being from different profession ( I am a MBBS doctor) .  There were questions around our expansion plan, how an social enterprise survive, some legal questions and how we mobilize team and volunteer sitting in different locations and yet having StudyMall in remote rural places of Maharashtra. For those interested in venturing in this field i try to cover some basics we learned below on same-

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1.Legal paperwork before starting social venture– As explained them that ThinkSharp Foundation is registered U/S Mumbai Public Trust Act 1950 Reg.No E28181 (Mumbai), Date of registration – 13.09.2011 and legally has 80G and 12 A certificates s to accept donation and provide tax exemption the importance of having clear legal documents and knowledge percolated through them before starting any social venture.

2. Managing a NGO – For us what worked best is having an diverse and passionate team coming form different backgrounds-  Thinksharp Foundation core team Santosh, Bhagwan, Shraddha and Rahul all are coming from different professions and bring different skills which saves cost which is needed for an start up NGO.

Santosh looks after financial, legal and bringing new donors as he comes from financial marketing profession, Bhagwan looks into branding and marketing being an corporate well known artist, Rahul helps in social media and photograhy as he is a well established photographer (https://www.facebook.com/photushotu.rahul/?fref=ts,)  as for me i manage daily social media, communications and PR for Thinksharp Foundation.   We have extended team like Deepali (an writer) providing inputs on varied marketing factors, Kranti ( a financial strong background provides inputs on financial stuff) Mr. Mangesh ( CA himself helps a lot on legal stuff), Mr. Zahid an successful entrepreneur himself making time for us on any logistics we need, Amol providing his time and energy whenever we need him to visit StudyMall sites.

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3. For the mobilization of resources– The biggest question for us is how to mobilize funds, resources and run StudyMall  in rural parts while we all are in cities-

I  explained them how  we use technology like Watsapp, Skype, E-mail and telephonic calls to connect with local volunteers in rural villages where we have StudyMall to keep everyone on same page on making StudyMall useful to maximum capacity by rural children.We have a local volunteers who are  passionate about providing education infrastructure to their village children who then acts as our co-coordinator once the StudyMall is set up. An example is our passionate volunteer Mr. Saurabh Mangrule for our third project StudyMall at Vangani village. He is practically available to co ordinate  24/7 with us and teachers of Z.P. School with whom we are running StudyMall. (read about him(  http://thinksharpfoundation.org/blogs/blog/2016/04/19/studymall-at-village-vangani/ )

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4. Constant dialogue with actual beneficiaries of your social venture

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Our mantra for successful StudyMall lies in having strong support system at rural level where we open StudyMall, if its independent center or in collaboration with school, we ensure to have dialogue with teachers, village Panchyat, Sarpanch, teachers and key decision makers of village so as to understand actual need of that village and then providing customized solution. We ensure not to bombard infrastructure which is actually not needed this can be identified only after speaking to actual benefeciries and people who are local. For example, our first StudyMall was started with books and after year we introduced computer and now that its completed 3 years we will try to add digital learning solution because first  StudyMall at Surangali village was not ready for digitization at start due to non availability of skilled professional or lack of curiosity of surangali village children towards digital education, but now after three years they are ready to accept this and hence we plan to install it . However our third StudyMall at Vangani village  had skilled teachers knowing about digital educational infrastructure and children were also curious and exposed to such hence we installed digital projector and educational tablets from the beginning itself.

5. Expansion and scaling your social venture how and when-

Having a practical goal and staying true to your mission should always be priority while deciding scaling and expansion. We are many times asked to make StudyMall sustainable we should charge rural kinds minimal fee to use StudyMall set up. We always prioritized that StudyMall will remain free to use for rural children. Our plan is set up only maximum 3 StudyMall per year instead of 20 or 10, this is to ensure we provide customized StudyMall in every village which will be beneficial and used at fullest by village children instead of just mass availability of StudyMall with too many infrastructure which will not be used.

StudyMall at Vangani village

6 – Interaction and communication with industry
20160707_145806 For us what worked is having constant dialogue by attending various events to know how to frame strategy that works best to scale your social venture. We attended many events whenever possible for social entrepreneurship like recently SandBox Samvidha by Deshpande  Foundationread more on this event by us at http://thinksharpfoundation.org/blogs/blog/2016/08/06/together-we-can-do-studymall-at-sandbox-samvidhahubbali/) ,  UnLTD (http://www.unltdindia.org/) following many great websites like YourStory social section https://yourstory.com/ Following great social entrepreneurs http://www.muhammadyunus.org/. Connecting with great websites providing support to NGO  http://www.doinggoodfellows.org/,  http://www.ivolunteer.in/http://whiteboardindia.org/ . Following good resources covering NGO like CSR Journal http://thecsrjournal.in/an Industry leader in CSR space.

Ms.Mandeep founder at Quarterpants, http://www.quarterpants.com/ who helped us in making  social media fundraising strategy.

7) Fundraising and donation-

What works best for us is we are trying to solve a very common problem known to all poor education resource in rural parts of India. There is lot of awareness around this. But still creating an awareness about problem you want to solve is very critical because awareness will only create connect between donor and your NGO. We constantly create buzz about this poor education problem on our NGO  and individual team members website, Facebook, Twitter,Instagram etc and also keep focused approach on approaching those who are already from rural parts .

Keeping donors informed by use of different communication on how there donations are used is very important. We do this by use of mailing ( using MaiChimp- http://mailchimp.com/) social media pictures editing by   Canva https://www.canva.com/, social pilot for scheduling pots in advance-https://socialpilot.co/.

For fundraising we use platforms like Milaap https://milaap.org/ , BitGiving –https://www.bitgiving.com/ and  Ketto https://www.ketto.org/

This are some practical basics we learned during our venture, but for professional learning there are many institutes and website that should be referred one is CSIM course as explained above.

You can donate and support us too..http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate –http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

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StudyMall nominated for SWAG 2016 Awards in education category

Thinksharp Foundation’s project “StudyMall” was nominated in education category for the SWAG (Social Welfare & Growth) Awards, 2016 initiative by The CSR Journal http://thecsrjournal.in/ . We received the appreciation  and participation trophy by chief guest Mr.Sushilkumar Shinde,  Former Union Minister, Government of India at this prestigious event .

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The CSR Journal is an online portal which connects the NGO / Social enterprises on a single portal. And also they connect this NGO/Social enterprises  to the companies/corporate  who are ready to help them through CSR . However the work of The CSR Journal goes much beyond that, they motivate, inspire and act as social change makers themselves by putting all this social stories together. The CSR Journal team is acting like a catalyst to speed the good work done in society.

The CSR Journal put together SWAG Awards this year which was an absolute source of motivation and inspiration to all the NGO and social enterprises working across India. For the SWAG awards nominations were invited from all over India and Thinksharp Foundation was one of the proud nominees in education sector. (http://thecsrjournal.in/redefining-csr-the-csr-journal-swag-awards-2016/)

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SWAG  Awards had following categories Education & Skill Training, Sports , Environment & Agriculture, Women Empowerment & Child Welfare and Health & Sanitation.

In the education category there were two other organisations that we were privileged to share stage with,   Let’s Do Some Good Foundation ( http://www.ldsg.in/) and the Nudge Foundation (http://www.thenudge.org/) . We are honored to have had chance to stand along them as they are doing fantastic job in education category.

The event was a grand success which was held at The Leela Hotel, Mumbai. This was  perfect event because of great hospitality and co-ordination by The CSR Journal team. There were special performances that added to the event like LGBT community-based dance group, ‘Dancing Queens’ performance, stand-up comedy by artist Kenneth Sebastian, Songs by ‘saMcara’ group on social responsibility and ethics. 

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ThinkSharp Foudnation’s StudyMall project was shared on the platform at the event in presence of all dignitaries, judges from social sector and corporate. The video featured about StudyMall highlighted how we are helping 3 villages of Maharashtra and 1500 rural children read, learn and play by setting up StudyMall.

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In the final round all the nominees were called upon stage and had to answer question form the judges. The judges for SWAG Awards were  Rohit Misra, CEO, Starkey, Shrikant Sinha, CEO, NASSCOMM, Sanjay Behl, CEO, Raymond, Vivek Talwar, Chief Sustainability Officer, TATA Power, Prerana Langa, CEO, Yes Foundation, Pearl Tiwari, President, Ambuja Cement Ltd and Naghma Mulla, COO, Edelgive Foundation.

Our founder Mr.Santosh represented us on stage and he was asked  question by Jury at the final round during event on stage . The Jury for us was Mr.Shrikant Sinha who posed question how do we motivate children to come to StudyMall. Our founder always having a witty response correctly said “we do not need to motivate them, similar to a situation when a village gets road people start using it, when we set up StudyMall children are already motivated to use this better educational facility provided to them.” Another question then came was “How do we keep children’s interest continued in using StudyMall”. Santosh explained that StudyMall is ongoing project to keep children interested in coming to StudyMall and using to learn and grow, we continuously upgrade it by adding more educational infrastructure like digital projector, educational tablets, toys etc.

StudyMall at Vangani village 5

We are truly thankful to The CSR Journal and especially Miss Pooja Domadia from The CSR Journal team for her continuous motivation and support. We are more motivated to work towards making StudyMall available to each needed village of Maharashtra.

It was an wonderful opportunity to meet other NGO who are doing tremendous good work too mention a few is Sundara – bringing hygiene by making available recycled soaps (http://sundarafund.org/) Gabriel project making women empowerment and child empowerment possible (http://www.gabrielprojectmumbai.org/)  and then the much needed and my favorite project dealing with menstrual issues Indian Development Foundation for their Project Hygiene 12 ( http://www.idf.org.in/project—ph12.html) and the one which I found very simple, humble and yet most effective project I liked dealing child development of slum and poor kids through sports  OSCAR Foundation ( http://www.oscar-foundation.org/ ).

Please keep visiting The CSR Journal to feel positive and to find something that you re passionate about. Also you can  get connected with such wonderful people and organisations at http://thecsrjournal.in/ 

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You can donate and support us too. http://www.thinksharpfoundation.org/#/donate

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

 

 

 

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“You don’t need time to help someone, you need kind Heart”

What is the most common reaction people give you, when you tell them about your NGO and work ? I have to know this and so I asked Santosh.

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With a chuckle Santosh said”Most common reaction would go like the one I had during one of friends get together a friend  casually mentioned to me ” Boss, you really got have a easy job and great boss, you can work on your NGO you must be so lucky to have this free time.”  What I didn’t tell him is that ” I am a regular guy like him with same target, appraisal and promotion pressure but what makes my life look easy is that I am happy because I know life is more than this and when I visit my NGO StudyMall project I see how my small efforts are helping village children like me everyday to read, learn and play.

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“We have all our worries and day to day job, but at the same time we have equal chance to go beyond this and be a bit more, a promotion is great from associate to manager but a promotion from being just  a person to being a helpful person for society is more appealing to me.” says Santosh and I totally agree.

Where did it all start, I mean from a busy regular job guy to a social entrepreneur ?

Santosh with a big smile said “Yes  i am computer Engg and MBA graduate, a regular guy working in Mumbai. I was  finding my way through and  despite being a very self confident person I used to struggle  with communication in English and was always being quizzed by people on my village and rural educational background. Whenever I faced this situation I used to wonder can I do something for rural children so  they  do not face same situation ? ”

Continuing his sentence with little pause Santosh adds “This idea got a boost when I visited my village during Diwali vacation. As I sipped hot cup of tea sitting under my good old tree chatting up with some of my village friends and some other elders from village, I saw the school across road in same poor infrastructure as it was 15 years back. The school had just finished and children were getting disbursed joyously . But what I saw was children did not go home but started going towards farm or they just came to the tree trying to entertain themselves by getting in communication of elderly and off course the tree was perfect place to do so. I asked few children and people around “why this children are not going home but wandering or going to farm or are here with us?”  One of the children a nine  Year enthusiastic boy replied ” we do not have anyone at home it is just 4 PM and we either go to farm to work or sit here”.

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I was speechless as I remembered this was what I was doing as a kid, but I was lucky enough that my parents realized that the village education was not enough and tried there best to shift me to town school, which either when I look back was not of standard in comparison to what we have in Mumbai.

This got me thinking what if they have a small place  to sit after school where we can read books, play games, talk and discuss children subject rather than being in elderly conversations around a tree, what if we can paint, draw, recite poems and what a lucky day it will be for village student to handle a computer?

StudyMall at Vangani village saurabh helping Vangani children at Digital StudyMall edited 8

Being a working professional I knew importance of having legal documentation, and I knew if I want to do something for the village children I need to have registration for NGO.  So I started in 2011 by registering an NGO “Thinksharp Foundation”. No dream is complete without friends , off course I had my friends on board with me Sachin, Deepali and others supporting me as volunteers.

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One of my friend  Mr.Bhagwan Jadhav an professionally successful media person staying in Mumbai asked me  to start first StudyMall in his village Surangali, ThinkSharp Foundation “Studymall” was thus launched on 29 Sep 2013 at Surangali village after 2 years of struggle period of documentation, funding, marketing, visits etc.

Since then I along with ThinkSharp team have been happy to see our “StudyMall” helping everyday 1500  rural children on an average learning, and growing  in academic and non academic skills in 3 different villages.

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We have given rural children a better  place to sit after school or during school, books,art, crafts, games , electricity supply in power cut times through solar lamps, computer education and  a local volunteer as there mentor available for them.

I still have a long way to go beyond 3 villages, in Maharashtra state all benefits are more concentrated in and around Mumbai and Pune, Marathwada region is basically away from much needed help and my aim is to help every village in Marathwada alongwith other parts as needed.

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So what are few moments that made you feel proud of your “StudyMall”.  Santosh replied “There are many but this one stands out at this moment, On one of my visit one of the parents said to me ” I am so thankful to StudyMall that my younger son got a job by studying here, and i hope every child in this village find something like this from StudyMall.” And another one is when our volunteer Mr.Saurabh sent this cute little picture of handwritten note from our 3 StudyMall Vangani which says how much this child loves StudyMall.

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StudyMall has become more than a place or a library for this villages, it is their own mall where they go and use everything  related to their study free of cost.

 

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From an Management guy to a hero guy for this rural children an exceptional journey Santosh has chosen. StudyMall is an attempt by Santosh and his team of  normal people with their own problems and struggle but whats different is there beyond normal passion to  help rural children.

 

You can donate and support us too..

Thanks and keep your Human side up that will keep you smiling….

Written by -Dr.Shraddha M Bhange

Volunteer and Writer for Thinksharp Foundation.

Web- www.ThinkSharpFoundation.org

Fb- https://www.facebook.com/ThinkSharpFoundation

Twitter- https://twitter.com/ThinkSharpFound

YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-4cDXLuwAThHXhNOazv5KA

Media Coverage- Click to read recent media coverage on National platform

Donate – https://milaap.org/campaigns/thinksharpfoundation-studymall

 

 

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