Started with just 2 scholarships in 2003, Ambedkar Scholarships has well received by the donors from all over the world. We attract donors form internet and through a word of mouth. A total of 103 scholarships were given in 2007 that includes 10 each in Tamilnadu and Uttar Pradesh. We have given 25 scholarships to children from scavenging families (SCS) and 10 to orphans of 2004 Tsunami in Tamilnadu.Â Though it is more streamlined in selecting students in Andhra Pradesh, we are depending on dedicated activists in other states to identify students. Though we wanted to start in Maharashtra in 2007, we failed in 2007 as we were not able to identify dedicated volunteers. We have requests from Karnataka and Kerala as well for 2008. We will do so depending on the availability of funding this year.
We started microloan project in 2006 with a modest amount of Rs.10,000. Our loans are given to Dalits and other economically backward individuals selected by our volunteers living in the same area. These loans carry 12% annual interest and are given to start small businesses like tea stall, grocery shop, pulling cart, vegitable vending etc. Microloans project has become a success with 100% repayments in time. Our beneficiaries are mostly women as we recognize that women are more responsible than the men. One of the precondition to receive loans is to have a bank account in the beneficiaryâ€™s name to save money on a regular basis so that they can improve his/her business in future on their own without coming for help again and planting a couple of trees at his/her home (which we deferred for now due to logistics).
Microloans 2006 2007
We regularly scan the newspapers to identify trendsetters and high achievers from the Dalit and marginalized societies in India. When we find them, we circulate the information among our donors. We collect the donations and pass it to the awardees through our volunteer network in India.
Studious students with poor economic and social background are referred to us for help to pay school fee, boarding fee, buy books, and other essential things for study. We again circulate these requests among our donors and help the students with whatever the donations we get. We havenâ€™t been able to help these students with 100% of their necessity, as it is difficult for us get the amount actually required for their studies. Something is better than nothing.
Help to victims of caste
In India Dalits are treated second class citizens even 60 years after Indian independence. Unthinkable atrocities are committed on then on regular basis. Indian media do not care to report, police do not try to help, judiciary do not try to punish the culprits, intelligentsia never come to their rescue, and the Government never try to care for them except during elections time. They are nowhere to go for justice and for other it seems they never exist. One in many atrocities committed on them will come to light and reported in the media. When such ghastly news come to our notice, we again send requests for help. Collected donations will be routed to the victims through our contacts in India. In 2006, we have helped a Dalit, Mr Bant Singh of Punjab who lost his limbs when landlords attacked him for legally fighting a battle against them for raping his minor daughter and a five year little girl raped and dumped behind a temple. This year, we are trying to help a Dalit woman whose auto-rikshaw was burnt by the so-called upper caste drivers for daring to drive an auto being a woman and a Dalit. Though we hear so many chilling incidents of atrocities against Dalits, we simply brush away with a bitter and powerless shy for our inability to help them even monetarily.
Through a reputed training institute, we got an offer to train studious and qualified students for free to prepare for competitive examinations. The institute has branches in all major cities in India. In 2006, we have enrolled 20 students in this course in Nagpur, Maharashtra. This year we are planning to start it in Hyderabad as well. We are looking for volunteers to work with us to identify students for this program.