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Asha for Education

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, International, International Development, International Relief, Literacy

Mission: Asha for Education(TM) is an organization dedicated to the support of education for underprivileged children in India.  Asha volunteers believe that education is a critical requisite and an effective catalyst for social and economic change in India. Each Asha chapter raises funds to support various education-related projects in India. In 2004, Asha chapters disbursed $1.4M to over 150 projects all over India. Besides fundraising, Asha also acts as a network for various grass-roots workers and volunteers and non-governmental organizations.

Community Stories

66 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with Asha for Education last year participating in marathon program and raising a good amount of money for the organization. I was also fortunate enough to visit couple of programs run through the organization in India to see meaningful impact on ground level of my fundraising.

The best part of this organization is how well and efficiently it run by its volunteers. I would definitely recommend checking out the local chapter of this organization.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently joined Asha San Francisco Chapter and I am impressed with how the projects are run. Based on what I have witnessed, the group is very non-hierarchical, open and collaborative.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

Looking at the Form 990, the organisation is sitting on more than $6 million in assets. This is more than enough to cover two years of expenses on programs, so it's unclear why new money is being solicited.

Review from Guidestar

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

"100% of your donations reach our projects" - This is what every Asha volunteer is proud about. During one of Asha UFlorida's annual cultural event - Praharsha we were selling we were selling food items. Chai was one of it, and was supposed to be very tasty. When one of the guest told a volunteer to have a sip as it was very tasty. The volunteer could have easily taken a cup full and no one would have made a fuss about it, but this is what he said "The money from the sale goes to our cause, unless i buy it i can not drink it." This is the dedication of each Asha volunteer.

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha is a great organization. There are no overhead costs, the purpose of the organization is simple, straightforward, and effective, and we work with grass-roots programs that work within the community to bring about change. I am a steward for a project and have had a great experience working with a volunteer in India who is extending micro-finance loans to women in an impoverished area of India. At Asha, we make sure that the projects that receive our funds are legitimate and effective projects that really are seeking to bring education to the many underprivileged children in India. These programs not only provide these children with an education, but empower them with the knowledge and skills to find opportunities and escape poverty.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Big positives: 1) It has little or no overheads, so the funds raised can go completely to projects. 2) Since it is completely volunteer driven, volunteers are fully vested in the success of the organization, so overall effectiveness is high. 3) The organization management is "flat" (with no hierarchy), which makes it truly democratic, and gives every volunteer a strong voice. Negatives: 1) There is a constant problem of volunteer burnout, and few roles for long term volunteers to diversify into. 2) Fundraising capabilities remain limited, and therefore the impact of the organization is limited. 3) Constant turnover of volunteers results in a lot of loss of knowledge, and new volunteers keep "reinventing the wheel"

12

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started volunteering with Asha as an undergrad at Berkeley. I haven't been able to keep up since graduating, but I hope to get back soon. Volunteering with Asha was both fun and satisfying.

11

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I really like Asha. I just joined the UC Berkeley chapter this year and although I don't know much about it yet, the projects that Asha supports sound really awesome.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 4

I have been a volunteer with this organization for more than 6 years now. I have enjoyed volunteering for Asha and find it amazing that a group of individuals with a common set of goals and beliefs can come together in this way and support education related and other causes in India. It has been very gratifying to see that the volunteering effort is paid off in terms of better education opportunities for young children who would other wise not have any access to even elementary education.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have found Asha for Education to be a very strong volunteer organization. In working with the Berkeley chapter, the organization has been a a way to unite both Indians, who want to be more involved with improving the country of their heritage, as well as non-Indians, who are looking to get involved in grassroots development. Our chapter is based on the collaboration of undergraduates, graduate students and working professionals. Because Asha for Education is a flat, non-hierarchical organization, everyone has a equal voice and thus, all our decisions are based on a wide range of perspectives. Asha for Education goes through an involved vetting process to ensure that the money we raise goes to well-deserved grassroots organizations in India that have the greatest potential to enact change in their communities through education. We require that our partner organizations in India give regular updates on the status of their schools and institutions so we know exactly how are money is being spent and what impact it is having. I have personally been deeply involved with the planning of our annual culture show fundraiser, Images of India, which is now on its 19th year. While putting on this event, I have seen the loyal following of the show's regular attendees and witnessed how Asha for Education has become deeply entrenched in both Indian and non-Indian communities in the Bay Area. Even in these times of economic troubles, we still have a group of supporters who regularly donate to our chapter, recognizing the need to maintain international development and realizing that Asha for Education is one of the best ways to channel their donations to this effort. Asha for Education as a whole also finds innovative ways to fundraise, such as the Work an Hour campaign, which is an online fundraiser that asks people to symbolically donate an hour of their time to help underprivileged children in India by simply giving an hour's worth of their wages or salary. Using this simple premise, in 2009, this campaign was able to raise over $100,000 in just two months. Asha for Education is entirely volunteer based, and every one of our volunteers cares deeply for this cause. We are a zero-overhead organization, which means that all the operational costs are borne by the volunteers and 100% of the money we raise goes directly to our projects and the children who need it most. As such, if you're interested stimulating socioeconomic change in India, Asha for Education is one of the most worthy organizations to work with.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined this organization as an undergraduate and it was so inspiring to work for such a great cause that I would prioritize doing Asha related work over school work. It is a very satisfying experience to be able to do something/anything to help children gain an education. The most difficult part is deciding which organizations/schools to help keeping in mind our limited funds. All the volunteers I have interacted with are very helpful and super dedicated to the cause. It is like a small family working towards a common goal. Sometimes we have intense discussions on topics but that is only because everyone cares deeply about it. I have never felt like I cannot express my thoughts/opinions with this group of people. They are open to fresh ideas and thoughts. Even though the issue we are working towards is very close to the heart for most of us, we try to make rational decisions about what is important for the children. What is even more inspiring is when you see the feedback from the children, how they are elated at having this opportunity to go to school rather than taking it for granted. It is a very humbling experience to work with this organization.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha For Education is focused on Education of the underprivileged children in India. The focus is on education of children as the organization believes that its only through education that a change can be brought about. Its not a quick fix. The organization is completely volunteer based and does not have any overhead. Its a group of dedicated volunteers who are keen in giving back to the society and bringing about a change.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

Have been involved as a volunteer with Asha ever since being introduced to it at the Univ of Illinois in 2001. As a Univ chapter, the volunteer group was intimate yet highly enthusiastic and motivated. Served in the capacity of event organizer for the semi-annual fundraiser. Moved to LA for work in 2003 and was involved remotely with the LA chapter, more as a donor this time. Moved to the Cal Bay area after getting married in 2005 and joined the Silicon Valley chapter right away. Involved primarily in fundraising, event organization and donor relations. Love the attitude of volunteers: professional, thorough yet a lot of FUN! The Team Asha marathon program serves as inspiration to do bigger and better things for the chapter and the organization as a whole. The Work an Hour campaign is very innovative and motivating in itself. What I love most about Asha is its flat structure along with zero-overhead, 100% volunteer driven organization! I am Asha :)

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an Asha volunteer for the past two years, and have been truly amazed at the things this organization gets done. 100% of Asha's profits go toward helping further education for underprivileged children in India. Unlike many other non-profits, Asha is a very horizontally structured organization and anyone can start off having a direct impact in helping others. What I admire most about Asha is its commitment to helping grass-roots efforts in India that would otherwise have little or no funding to support their efforts.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Its been a fabulous journey so far with Asha. I had joined the organization back in 2002 and had been involved in a lot of fundrasing activites and publicity campaigns over these period. This is an organization which is always welcoming to everyone who shares the philosophy of education as being a source of enlightenment of ones self and who views education as a method to empower the populace. This is a place where every hard work that you put in helps some children in India to gain meaningful education. This is a place where you can express your views freely and boldly. Last but not the least, it is the individuals of Asha for Education which makes it such a unique and enjoyable place to be in.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This past Sunday, thanks to Team Asha, I completed my first marathon! 26.2 miles through the cold (and yes, windy) streets of Chicago! Temperatures in Chicago this past weekend were in the low-30s . . . a far cry from the summer Saturdays I spent training in Central Park. The day before the race, my friends from Team Asha had to shop around for "throw away" sweats (clothes that you buy at bargain basement prices to keep you warm for only about an hour before the race start). Shortly before the gun was fired, thousands of runners all around me began discarding their sweats. The sky over me became cloudy with flying sweaters ;-) Although the morning air was frigid as I waited in Grant Park for the race to start, I quickly warmed up after a mile of running. I followed my Asha coach's advice on how to optimize performance during a marathon. I started at an easy pace to loosen my legs and become comfortable with the race. My first 5K was at over a 10-minute pace. Then I gradually increased my pace. By mile 15, I was running at an 8:45-minute pace. I was enjoying every minute of my run through the lively streets of Chicago . . . the bands performing rock and roll, the frat boys offering runners beer to replenish lost carbs ;-), the cheering spectators . . . then, I hit the "wall" around mile 19. My legs began to cramp up and my feet painfully hit the pavement with every step. The crowds around me seemed quieter. It felt as if my body had burned through all the protein and carbs that I had eaten the week leading to the race and only the protein bloks that I held in my hand and the gatorade that I drank nearly every mile of the race were supplying me with the fuel I needed to continue. My pace dropped somewhat through five difficult miles. By mile 23, I knew that the end was near. This sent a bolt of energy through my body which allowed me to pick up my pace to finish strong. Heading towards the finish line with the Chicago skyline as a backdrop was the perfect ending to my first marathon ;-) I finished the race in under 4 hours, achieving my race goal! I have tremendous pride running for Team Asha, an organization dedicated to raising funds to offer better educational opportunities for underprivileged youth in India. Running in my Team Asha shirt made my first marathon all the more special. Asha has demonstrated tremendous success in raising funds for education of impoverished youth. Yet there are still millions of children in India who do not have access to a basic education. With this in mind, organizers of the NYC/NJ Chapter of Asha for Education reminded me that every contribution to Asha helps children in need. They motivated me to work hard towards reaching my fundraising goal!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha for Education is non hierarchal organization, where each volunteer can pursue his/her passion of doing social work. I am associated with Asha for Education for many years. I have seen the dedication of volunteers who spend day and night for a worthy cause. I have seen people across all walks of life coming together to help a cause. Asha for Education supports projects in almost every state of India. Its an zero overhead organization where the spirit of volunteerism keeps it going......

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Absolutely an incredible charity organization to be part of, as a volunteer. A few years back we organized a fundraising event with Indian cricketers who'd visited NJ for a camp. That's when my relationship with Asha began. Ever since then, it has been very interesting, to say the least. This year, I've been part of a few unique fundraising as well as publicity efforts. What really stands out with Asha is the decentralized nature of working towards a unified cause. As a volunteer, I've always gotten the needed wisdom as well as guidance from the chapter's senior members. A testament to this is a recent meeting with the co-founder of Asha who had visited the USA on a different business and was gracious enough to stop at our NJ chapter to discuss with volunteers about recent developments in India related to education of children, which is what we work towards. Kudos to Asha for providing such a great opportunity to give back to the society where I come from, even though I'm far far away from it.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been an Asha volunteer for the last 4 years. Asha is zero-overhead non-profit organization, projects are closely monitored, and project-related activities are fully documented. Most of all, big percentage of fundraising, events organization, projects decision, project monitoring are done by college students from US and other countries. I am really impressed by this and think that the involvement of students in improving India's education and socio-economic projects should be encourged more.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha for Education is a incredible organization to volunteer for. It is 100% volunteer run and all contributions go to educating a kid in India. That was the main driving force for my service in this organization. I have an oppurtunity to meet like minded people and I feel happy that I am able to give something back to my country.

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha is one of the nonprofits that I volunteer for. It's mission to catalyze socio-economic change in India through the education of underprivileged children is very close to my heart. It gives me the oppurtunity to volunteer from home at my convenience. I also like the fact that it has zero overheads which means all the donations that it receives are used only towards its various projects.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha is an awesome charity that is zero overhead and is directly involved with the education projects that it funds. Its very decentralized nature allows every chapter to have its own focus and to be closely involved in the entire process from fundraising to dealing with problems at schools we fund.

8

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I joined Asha first because I wanted to meet other like-minded individuals. At the time, I thought myself to be socially conscious, and wanted to do something for those less fortunate than I was. And not just meet with friends over the weekend limited to chit-chat & plans for the next dinner meet. After living in the US and seeing the "plenty" here, I often felt guilty that while a lot of my people were finding it difficult to get 2 meals a day, here I was complaining about it being too hot at the beach. I thought I would feel better if I did my bit to do something for my less fortunate compatriots. Asha was the only organization in town that did social work in India. I was impressed by the quick response to my casual email to the group, which I came across in a pamphlet at the local library. So when I joined Asha, I was all excited about "giving" something. After 7 years with the institution, I have grown, transformed and taken more from it than given. It has been a very humbling experience to see how much volunteers do towards the goals that they seriously believe in! I have met wonderful people at Asha. I saw how people from all walks of life converged here without discrimination of any sort, and worked unselfishly for the organization. Asha, has set itself out in the community because the only uniting force is the thought of the 1,000 odd kids whose education (and lives) we are involved in. There is no personal privileges or benefits in stake and so it has survived in the community longer than any other group of individuals. Asha gives us the opportunity to use any amount of creativity in its activities. Complete strangers can come together and work perfectly well, because the beneficiary is not among here, we are all working for children. Which brings up what I think is great about Asha - no one denies that children's education is a top priority. We do not have to argue with people or convince them about the credibility of the cause. So far, I have not met anyone who questioned the relevance of our mission to India. They may have questions about how we use the funds etc, but never the basic mission. Asha has helped transform my life, and slowly over the years, that of many of my immediate and extended family members, that we have embraced it as our extended family ourselves. The fundraisers give us a lot of learning exposure, and fun; while the project discussions keep us firmly planted on the ground. It gives us a fresh perspective to view our own lives, and it is an indescribable feeling that a tiny part of my day goes into making someone in some other part of the planet more happy with his/her life. Involving with Asha has helped give me and my family the much needed balance in our lives. And a keen sense of satisfaction that someday somebody is going to make better use of his/her life as a result of my efforts. As I said, we have gotten more out of it than given.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The grassroots nature of Asha allows a volunteer to have a tangible connect with a project in India. This is rewarding and exhilarating and opens a range of possibilities for a volunteer. Volunteering with Asha is a real education on socio-economic issues in India. The non-hierarchical nature of Asha values each and every volunteer.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Asha has given many people like me the opportunity to make a difference. It has provided me a chance to get prespectives on social work, and above all to work with a lot of other volunteers who share similar passion and work towards one goal.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Asha is a great example of how the sum can be so much more than the parts. It has been a vehicle for thousands of ordinary people like myself to come together to make a tangible difference. When you come into the organization, the egos are parked firmly at the gate. No role is too important or too small. All are here to contribute their mite in a genuine spirit of Sarvodaya - ‘universal uplift’ or ‘progress of all’ - a realization of the tremendous truth that all of us are connected, and what happens to one eventually affects everybody else.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first came to Asha for Education, Seattle in 2005. At that time, I did not understand anything about wholistic education. I did not know how vast India's educational problems were. I was highly suspicious of charitable organizations. Asha was like a mana from heaven. It is a zero-overhead organization (perhaps not legally), but in principle. When I print receipts for donors (I volunteer for the finance team at the Seattle chapter), I pay for the stamps myself. When we collaborate to bring speakers in from India, we all contribute for the expenses of the trip. This principle of zero-overhead is the most important aspect for me. I also found that the people at Asha were genuinely interested in the work we did. We did not want to just pay lip service to the ideal of education, but were willing to educate ourselves and go deeper in the reality of the situation. I am both a volunteer and a donor. Thank you, Saurabh

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A no frills organization with very focused activities. Best way to describe it would be a venture capital for education-related projects in India. A flat organization that allows volunteers to contribute and get involved right away. Attracts people who are dedicated but not cocky.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a volunteer for Asha for the past 2 years. What I love about this organization is the spirit of the volunteers. Asha is a 100% volunteer driven organization. Given that the Seattle chapter alone manages around 1 million dollars, one can only imaging the scale of things handled by these volunteers while still keeping their day jobs. It is like everyone is tied by a common thread - a desire to make a difference in someone else's life. I am a project steward for one of the projects and it is immensely satisfying when I receive a mail from our project partners back in India saying that they money that we helped raise, was used for building a shed for children to play, or to setup new computers or to create new learning aids. Being a part of Asha has taught me a lot of things - leadership, spirit of volunteerism, thinking outside the box but above all humility. An appreciation for the life that I have and an understanding of the situation prevailing in my country.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I think Asha for Education is a wonderful organization to volunteer for. It has a holistic approach to their work in education. Also, as a donor I feel confident my contributions is going 100% to various education projects.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have seen Asha grow from a small student run organization at Asha-Berkely, Asha-Stanford, and Asha-LA to one that now has over 70 chapters around the world. The organization has stayed true to it's roots were the funds raised through donations get to the projects in India. It has been rated as a slam dunk charity by CharityNavigator.com http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=7630 But most of all, the kind and caring volunteers in the organization is what makes it so great. I am proud to be a volunteer with such an amazing organization for so many years.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Asha for Education, Seattle Chapter for a little over 7 years and it has been an amazing journey. I joined with the urge to serve the underprivileged communities in India but little did I knew how this association will shape my life. It provided a platform for for learning through site visits, talks, workshops and various passionate discussions with other fellow volunteers. It truly amazes me on how this organization can function without any paid staff or hierarchy. It might not very efficient (as we know it) for the same reasons but does pretty good job for its scale.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had been volunteering for Asha for Education for the past six years, and it had been a wonderful and enriching journey. I started working for Asha because I was concerned about giving back something to my country, and to the innumerable number of marginalized children whose rights to education and even safe environment are denied every single day. However as I started getting more involved with the organization I was blown away by the amount of humility, honesty and dedication that the members of this organization posses. Asha for Education is more than just a charity organization, it is a tool for social empowerment and social awareness. Apart from raising funds for those who need the most, Asha had been working with grassroots activists who work relentlessly for the empowerment and social justice for marginalized populations. As an organization Asha is remarkable in its transparency and democratic organization and its constant effort in educating its volunteers in socially relevant issues. It is for these reasons that Asha had been able to attract people from various walks of life to dedicate their time and energy in working together for helping others.

6

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been volunteering with Asha's Seattle chapter for the past 6 years and the journey had really been life changing. What stood out for me is really the sincerity, humbleness and dedication of all peer volunteers in empowering underprivileged sections of the society. Another amazing thing about this organnization is really it's flat structure - every decision is made in open public meetings with everyone having just one vote - this is really participatory democracy!

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been volunteering with Asha for almost 10 years now. The fact that every penny that is raised goes towards the projects and the cause is the main driving force behind my dedication to this organization. I have met many inspiring people thru Asha who believe that basic education for all should not just be a desire but a Right of Every Child... Every Individual.