SWAMI VIVEKANANDA SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM FOR THE UNDERPRIVILEGED, WEST BENGAL
Abheda Foundation’s journey began in 2012 with 24 meritorious and financially challenged students of Canning Subdivision in West Bengal being awarded Swami Vivekananda Scholarship for education. We extended our family to 48 members in 2013 and conducted medical and summer camps for them from time to time. Then on 12 January 2014, we embarked on an English teaching project for the family as each member was given a tablet for self-learning English through Abheda’s contents. Abheda volunteers took care to call the members on weekends to clear doubts only, thus imparting no or little teaching. Regular assessments followed and in years’ time, we find most of the members proficient in English. Please view Tablet based Self-learning Project for Abheda’s Students and Success Story section under Abheda English for their phenomenal progress in English.
Later in April of 2017, we mustered strong by 39 more students from Canning and Jalangi (Murshidabad) upon a rigorous examination and subsequent scrutiny. We appealed to Abheda's sponsor members for the fund through an initiative Extend Your Family and they responded adequately. We managed some monitor members for monitoring the new students. English teaching through Abheda English has progressed successfully for the new students.
In 2018, we included 45 new student members from Canning and Jhargram - 31 and 14 respectively. Two major milestone-like changes in the processes have taken place this year, viz., i) we have been funded by ONGC, ii) a set of paid monitors (college goers) now monitor the students.
At the moment, we offer a scholarship to 95 members with some of them being covered on whole of their educational expenses. But it is not about scholarship alone. Abheda team stands beside the members, and this interaction is a regular phenomenon. We plan their career paths by aligning aspiration of the members and advice by experts. Special medical assistance, if needed, is provided. Educational tours and picnics are organized periodically. The members frequent Abheda office for days – for learning, medical needs, advice, during festivals and sometimes for no reasons ! This is a sweet bonding we have grown.
The Abheda team nurtures the members subtly. They are taught, for example, that selflessness and purity are the only pillars of religion (Swami Vivekananda’s saying), not forgetting sticking to truth albeit. Stories involving great people pave path for value-based learning in them. To instil empathy in themselves they look up to Abheda Foundation only. They, the future torchbearers, own Abheda Foundation now.