The Desire To Succeed

Ichchha Foundation, India

Ishika Laul on November 29, 2018 in Education

What is the one thing stopping you from going out there & living your dream? Fear of failure? Low confidence? Poor time management?

Now, just for a second, add “Lack of means” to that list. Suddenly your limitations seem self-imposed, don’t they?

That’s the life of every underprivileged child in this country and they’re the ones Ichchha Foundation is targeting to create change.

Ichchha isn’t an NGO that focuses just on imparting knowledge & educating children – but instead, it focuses on creating opportunities for those who lack resources in municipal schools, with their dreams, stifled, due to the inefficiency in our education system and who eventually, end up going back into the vicious cycle of women donning the garb of housewives who are meant to take care of the men who are a part of yet another industry promoting manual labour.

But, the world is changing. And with it, so is our country. This vigour & desire is seeping down to very root of the plant – they desire to break free & to be.

Ichchha started out with just 1 school and 10 students, as part of its Pilot project. This small group of strong-minded young adults, managed to create a corporate gifting initiative & tracked a total sale of INR 35,000 – thereby raising funds for the future of this NPO and the start of something game-changing for those who were a part of it.

“What makes Ichchha different is that it focuses on the holistic development of children”, says Poorvaja Sundar, Founder of Ichchha Foundation. “We really focus on not just their academics but also on, how they can gain in aspects such as Confidence, Self Esteem, Public Speaking skills and so on. They get a platform where there is a sea of exposure via competitions, seminars, etc. They can do anything they want – from theatre to starting their own YouTube channel to running a business!”

Entrepreneurship, Leadership & Business skills aren’t something that can be rote learned from a pile of textbooks or a 3-hour lecture. It’s essential to teach business concepts to students in a way that is practical, easy to grasp & implementable. They need to understand the core of why and how they can create an opportunity for themselves.

What makes this NPO special, is that it follows a youth-based organisation structure wherein every youth member acts as a volunteer, a leader & a role model. There is a free-flow of ideas & inspiration because these children not only look upto these volunteers as mentors but also, as peers, thereby instilling a sense of comfort & safety in confiding to & growing with them.

“Everyday is a rollercoaster ride for this organisation”, says Poorvaja. “It takes time. I had to learn that”. Ichchha Foundation, in its pilot year, successfully completed a crowdfunding campaign for a little over INR 1Lakh, by selling a range of stationery products created by these students, titled ‘Bachpan’. The support received in response to Ichchha’s projects has instilled confidence in everyone who is a part of this process of change.

The stakeholders in this entire journey are not limited to just the students from backward communities, who get finally get a chance to become the best versions of themselves, but also their parents & the changemakers. Through this organisation’s values & mission, it is trying to –

  1. Uplift the families of the students to create a supportive ecosystem for the development of the child & themselves as people facing daily struggles,
  2. The youth members get a reality check on the physical living conditions & the mental torture that families in the lower ranks of the economy face – and they get an opening to change the same at a grassroot level through their initiatives with the children

What does Ichchha have waiting ahead?

The founding team is keen on taking the organisation to a national level – going one step at a time. The focus is to reach atleast a 1000 student in the next 2-3 years, post which go double & triple & there on. Additionally, the team wants to create an even more comprehensive network for the students to attend more workshops and develop niche skills – in order to arm them with knowledge, as ammunition, before they step into the real world.

Poorvaja, when asked about her key piece of advice for everyone out there who is trying to create change, said “Do your research, always keep coming back to the drawing board to see what’s working & what’s not working, invest heavily in impact evaluation and be ready to be there”.

Your childhood shapes your adulthood, and it is now or never to step up and lend a helping hand to students, who want to learn and succeed – who possess the Ichchha to break free.

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