On Saturday, June 12, Akanksha Education Fund held an event launching their Building Resilience campaign. The event was a virtual fundraiser which raised over $500,000 for Akanksha’s work in India. This funding will enable Akanksha to prioritize vaccinating our staff and community members, prioritize mental wellbeing and child safety and help provide tablets for our students. The campaign was a success and helped launch Akanksha’s vaccination program. After the virtual event, several members of Akanksha’s community also came together to advocate and fundraise for the campaign. Read more about the campaign here

The hour-long virtual gathering featured Akanksha staff, alumni, students, parents, and teachers and was attended by Akanksha supporters, donors and Board members from across the U.S.. Each group talked about their experiences with Akanksha and its importance in furthering education in India. You can watch the event recording here.

Key takeaways from the event:

  • Akanksha has a 30-year history of providing a high-quality education to the most underserved children in India and has remained steadfast to this mission during the pandemic.
  • In the short-medium term, to help our students and communities cope with the devastating effects of the second wave of COVID, our response will stretch beyond support education to vaccinations, child safety and humanitarian relief – all essential to providing our students with a stable ecosystem
  • Akanksha’s trust-relationship in our communities lets us play this role and  circle of impact continues to widen as new schools open in Nagpur

The first half of the event described Akanksha’s mission, impact, and virtual model during the COVID-19 pandemic, with an introduction by Akanksha alumni Pragati Raskar. Instructional Specialist for Digital Learning Paromita Sen spoke about Akanksha’s work during the pandemic and how the integration of technology has been essential.  Akanksha acquired 1500 tablets to distribute to students in grades 7-10 to relieve the financial stress of owning a device and making it easier to learn remotely.

The event also featured several of Akanksha’s alumni. Salman Sayyed, who works with a film-company in Texas, recently visited one of Akanksha’s communities in Mumbai and shared moving visuals from that trip. Another Akanksha alumni, Namrata Khanvilkar, talked about how Akanksha has supported her aspirations and taught her valuable life lessons that she carries with her as she pursues work and post-graduate education in the U.S. Finally, Suraj Gupta, spoke about how he went from Akanksha to the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and how Akanksha supported him financially throughout the process.

The second half of the program included a live question and answer session with three current Akanksha students Fatema Mandal, Anjali Mourya, and Bhaskar Jaiswal, as well as Aureen Vaz, a social worker at an Akanksha school, and the Akanksha Foundation CEO Saurabh Taneja. The students spoke about all aspects of student life in an Akanksha school, including socio-emotional learning, school during the pandemic and their future aspirations. Aureen spoke about the challenges faced by communities during the pandemic, including needing groceries, medical services, etc. and the heightened domestic violence that the pandemic has brought.