For a brighter tomorrow

Amrita Prasad
Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Empowering underprivileged children by providing them guidance, opportunity, and financial support, Touch A Life Foundation has been helping schools in villages near Pune. More recently, they visited Shree Sant Gadge Maharaj School in Koregaon Park

After visiting and distributing textbooks to students in Junnar, Touch A Life Foundation (TALF) came forward to help Shree Sant Gadge Maharaj School, Koregaon Park. Boobie Liu, executive director, Chow Tai Fook, and Cyrus, associate director, Chow Tai Fook, also joined them from Hong Kong.

As the school was unable to provide the books and hearing devices for their differently-abled students, TALF came forward to help. Till now, they have reached out to 31 schools and 6,000 students and distributed over 60,000 books. They have helped schools in villages of Beed, Satara, Saswad, Junnar and Ahmednagar. To know more about the initiative, we chat up Neha Pawar, national representative, Touch a Life Foundation. 

Tell us a little about your initiative of donating books and hearing aids to students of Sant Gadge Maharaj School.  
At the core of Touch A Life Foundation’s (TALF) initiative is a digital platform with a dedicated personalised interface for each participant in the aid process. To ensure that aid reaches the desired beneficiary, the digital platform is supported by a simple, on-ground verification process.

We have donated books to 4,561 students from 29 villages and 31 schools. This was our first year of helping the disabled students of Sant Gadge Maharaj school with their audio syllabus, which helps them to study and keep learning even after school hours. As they do not have access to Braille textbooks, the best and most convenient option was this. 

How was your interaction with students?   
During our research we met a lot of students. They walk 10km a day just to reach school. They barely can afford meals. We heard their struggles and saw their will to want to study and make a better future for themselves, their families and the nation. We, at TALF, knew that books are the only doorway to the world of knowledge and power. The joy we saw on their faces was a big smile of gratitude and promise to utilise the material to their best potential.  

How are you ensuring that students coming from poor economic backgrounds have access to stationery, study material and aid in case of disability? 
Our project ensures a strict adherence to the principles of accountability, responsibility, transparency and traceability.  We have many local NGOs like With Love For You Charitable Foundation and Panama Foundation who have joined hands and are supporting us in this journey.  We give individual set of books and material to every child. So they can study at their comfort and availability of time even after school hours. As they all come from economically weak backgrounds they have a lot more responsibilities other than studying and attending school. They help their parents with home chores, with farming etc. 

What is your vision for the foundation and underprivileged children who aspire to make it big in life but do not have enough opportunities?
Upholding the spirit of ‘do good feel good’, we share TALF’s belief in empowering children towards the betterment of society. We truly hope that our support of Books for Change can serve as an encouragement to the underprivileged children and youth in India to pursue their dreams. Touch A Life was created with a vision to understand and cater to the needs of the underprivileged and provide them with guidance, opportunity, and financial support so that they can turn their dreams into reality. Education is one of the fundamental rights and ironically, the world lags far behind when it comes to that. Our vision is to see a world where there is free flow of educational and health facilities, where every child is educated, healthy, and protected.

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