Countdown to Pragati ’11 : Vibha – Helping fill the void in Indian Education Sector [Part 2]

This is part two of  the two part series of  posts which highlights Vibha’s contribution to Indian education sector and beyond. This series of posts is leading to Pragati ’11 – a two day project wide conference to be organized by Vibha in Pune, India. For the previous post, click here.

Vibha directly translated from Sanskrit means God’s light or God’s essence.  The organization was started as a volunteer led movement in 1991 to nurture this very essence – children. The founders’ belief that “children are the living messages we send to a time we’ll not see” has laid the foundation for over two decades of tireless pursuit to better the lives of underserved children.

Registered as Help Them Grow, Inc. in USA, Vibha’s vision is to ensure that every underprivileged child attains his or her right to education, health and opportunity. Today it boasts of a dedicated network of over 825 volunteers spread across 15+ cities in USA and many more in India. Based on a volunteer driven model, it strives to educate, empower and enable all those who choose to make a difference in the life of a child. Several fund raisers like the Dream Mile and charity functions are organized with an intention to raise awareness, spread stories of positive change and crowd source funds for several child focused projects. Till date, it has supported over 190 projects inIndia and theUS.

Since its inception in 1991 Vibha has impacted over 150,000 under-privileged children, by enabling, empowering and encouraging more than 190 social entrepreneurs and projects in India and the US through over $8Million in direct funding. Vibha sees the importance of supporting cash strapped initiatives in India which are delivering social value at grassroots level. Cash crunch has severely restricted the scalability and quality of education being distributed by these organizations.

Though social enterprises and social businesses are the buzzwords in development sector, education is an area, the returns of invest in which are generated over a period of time and are mostly intangible. Vibha today enables 70 social entrepreneurs in India seed, develop and scale projects that bring about systemic, meaningful, sustainable and scalable solutions for various problems affecting the underprivileged child. All the projects supported by Vibha are exclusively targeted towards children. Given the geographic isolation and demographic variance within the subcontinent, it has on purpose diversified its portfolio to ensure sufficient support to organizations working in areas where government based funding has not found its way or is insufficient. They span a wide range of focus areas: education, vocational training, care for physically and mentally challenged children and rescue and rehabilitation of children in vulnerable conditions. These are spread across urban areas, slums, semi-urban areas and rural areas. See an exhaustive list of supported projects here.

To ensure best utilization of funds raised, the website states that it follows an exhaustive evaluation process which includes analysis of quantitative metrics like the number of children impacted, the cost per activity or cost per child and qualitative measures such as the impact on the local community, organizational structure and long term sustainability of the organization. This ensures maximum possible impact being created.

Pragati ’11 is a project wide conference of Vibha funded organizations across India being hosted by Vibha Pune Action Centre. Read more about it in my next post.

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