Mumbai Local

NGO for kids in record books for third time in four years

The kids with their stationery kits—Photo: Special Arrangement  

City-based NGO Umang Foundation is in the Limca Book of World Records for the third time in four years for distributing stationery to the maximum number of underprivileged children in a single day. The NGO, founded in July 2008 by Ashish Goyal and two of his friends, has hundreds of volunteers across the state now, but the beginning was tough seven years ago.

At the time, Mr Goyal had already been involved in social work for two years, having turned his back on a well-paying job offer in the US to work at his uncle’s eye hospital in Mulund where free check-ups and treatment camps for the needy were regularly held.

Umang Foundation’s volunteers come from all walks of life including IT, finance, managament and medicine and use their respective skill sets to work towards education for underprivileged children.

“In 2008, we visited several slums and schools in Ulhasnagar, Kalyan and other areas in their vicinity. The common problem that we identified there was a high dropout rate among school students. We found there were two basic causes behind this, the first being migration of families and the second being unavailability of resources like notebooks and stationery. We decided to devote our energy to addressing the second reason,” says Mr Goyal.

Umang members started gathering volunteers and resources, meeting school teachers in several areas and understood the basic requirements of students. After raising enough funds, they approached stationery manufacturers and struck deals with them.

Finally, on June 25, 2012 Umang held its first stationery distribution event in Ulhasnagar. The event surpassed their wildest expectations, as 192 volunteers distributed a stationery kit each to 9,125 students from 31 schools in Thane district, studying in KG to Class X, in a single day. The feat earned Umang its first entry in the Limca Book of World Records for 2012.

“The experience is personally satisfying as these efforts have ensured a reduction in the dropout rate among students at the bottom of the social pyramid. The smiles that we see each year keep us going,” Mr Goyal added.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 9:13:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/ngo-for-kids-in-record-books-for-third-time-in-four-years/article8401467.ece

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