How two female entrepreneurs fundraised to buy digital devices for students amid Covid-19 pandemic

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Concerned about the pandemic’s devastating effect on the education sector, two young women set out to achieve the goal to equip underprivileged students with digital devices in September 2020. Within just 5 months, they managed to set-up a non-profit, collaborate with 2 NGOs, and raise Rs 300,000 of funding from 62 donors to buy 35 digital devices for children.

ShareALittle is a crowdfunding platform started by 28-year-old Trishla Pareek and 27-year-old Divya Singhal. Chartered Accountants by qualification, the two friends quit their corporate jobs to turn into social entrepreneurs to bridge the funding gap for NGOs.

The idea was simple — a seamless and more transparent donation process would encourage more people to come forward and help. Unlike other crowdfunding platforms, ShareALittle opted for a highly personalized and creative approach to spread the word about the fundraisers.

Digital devices for students

For their first initiative “DigiKit”, which aimed to provide digital devices for students studying from home, the founders of ShareALittle created an animated video to showcase the mammoth gap in educational opportunities for the privileged and underprivileged students — a gap that only widened as Covid-19 forced education to move completely online.

They also created videos for specific fundraisers to demonstrate the urgent need for digital devices for these students. An online baking class for one fundraiser alone helped them raise Rs. 10,000!

For their first fundraiser, ShareAlittle collaborated with Education Audiology and Research Society (EAR), a Mumbai-based school for hearing-impaired children. Without early intervention in their education years, the children could never learn to speak or write. An interregnum in their studies could possibly mean no education at all.

Over 40 days, the founders managed to mobilise Rs.150,000 in funding. These funds were sufficient to buy 15 tablets and now the children and their teachers are able to participate in online classes.

Thrilled by this act of generosity, Saker Mistri, the chairperson of EAR Society, said “We loved their video and the enthusiasm, interest, and care which their team has shown for EAR. It was a real delight to have them as a partner and now a member of the EAR family.”

Helping students pursue higher education

During the same period, ShareALittle tied up with the Delhi-based Vahani Scholarship Trust. Vahani nurtures and funds individuals (“Vahani Scholars”) coming from underprivileged backgrounds with exceptional and untapped capability to pursue their graduation from top Indian Universities.

While Vahani’s financial aid helped families to send their children to college, they did not have the means to buy the devices to continue their studies from home.

ShareALittle was able to raise Rs 130,000 in funding in 40 days, enough to buy 20 smartphones. Exhilarated to own his first phone, Srikant Aarmugam, one of the Vahani scholars, said that the phone would help him and his siblings to attend online classes and clear their doubts.

Grateful for ShareALittle’s fundraising efforts, The Vahani management said “It was an honour to see ShareALittle’s commitment to the cause and we appreciate their volunteering to join Vahani to add to our efforts towards educating underprivileged but academically sound students in their educational journey”.

For the co-founders of ShareALittle, this is just the beginning. They want to continue helping NGOs that are making a tangible difference in society and have many more campaigns in the pipeline. With ShareALittle, Trishla hopes to create and nurture an environment conducive to giving back. Divya sums up her passion for philanthropy perfectly in the words of Robert Frost, “I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep.”

Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/

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