Rajia is the daughter of a driver in Kolkata. She has always been a good student and managed to stay in school despite her family’s meager monthly income. When she cleared the West Bengal Joint Entrance Examinations, her future was made. But university education comes at a price. She was awarded a small one time grant from the West Bengal Government and also received support from Education For All and was able to continue her Computer Science and Technology course.
The Education For All Project prioritizes need above merit, with the belief that any child who wants to continue going to school has the right to do so.
The Trust believes that problems plaguing the nation such as unemployment, crime, corruption and population explosion have all been created by the lack of basic education. Creating opportunities for children to be educated will help minimize, if not eradicate, such issues. The Trust does not discriminate on the basis of caste, creed, religion or gender.
The program has been in progress in Bengal since its inception, providing scholarships to thousands of students, distributing books and other materials. The co-ordinating agency is the International Marwari Federation Youth Wing. In Bengal, children from classes I to X are eligible for scholarships. The Trust has supported college fees as well in the past, though now it has focused its efforts on school-going children.
In its early days, the Trust also provided support to schools with funds to enhance their teaching staff strength. Over time however, these will be phased to out to concentrate on the sponsorship scheme, which has been found to produce much greater results.
Education For All – Rajasthan
In Rajasthan the project covers students at the primary and secondary levels (from classes I to VIII). A separate fund, with an initial allocation of Rs. 15 lakh from Shree Cement Ltd has been created for children in Rajasthan. It was launched by the then Honorable Governor of Rajasthan, Smt. Pratibha Patil on July 23, 2006 at Governor House in Jaipur. It was also attended by eminent educationalist Kapila Vatsyayan, Director of the United Nations Information Centre (India and Bhutan) Shalini Deewan, Shree cements MD H.M. Bangur and writer Taslima Nasreen.
This chapter, a collaboration between Shree Cement Ltd and Prabha Khaitan Foundation has been in operation since October 1, 2006. The coordinating organization for Rajasthan is Rajasthan National Forum.