Despite the economic growth in India over the last few years, poverty and hunger are still everyday realities. Today, 28.5% live below the poverty line – in other words on less than 33 rupees (CHF 60 centimes) a day.
For very poor children, the only chance of escaping a life of continuing deprivation is through education, which opens doors to better jobs and a better future. Children from Dalit communities, the lowest rank of Indian society, are the worst affected. Dalits, particularly girls, still face discrimination and exclusion. They are the ones most likely to be abused, both physically and sexually. In rural India, many Dalit families still do not send their daughters to school because they cannot afford to or do not believe that girls need to be educated. These girls will never be able to enjoy equal rights nor a rewarding and positive future.
The Chris Powell Scholarship Fund has been set up to improve the chances of some of the poorest children in Tamil Nadu – especially Dalit girls. With our partners in India, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart, we are already helping 62 Dalit children at the BCV International School in Tamil Nadu. But we want to do more. Specifically, we want to provide scholarships to ensure continuity of quality education through primary and secondary years. We want to help with transportation costs so that children in rural areas can get to school safely. And we want to extend our reach to more children in Tamil Nadu who are in desperate need of a decent chance in life.
A Chance in Life
12-year-old Jacintha is the youngest of three sisters, and lives in a poor rural village on the outskirts of Tirunelveli. Her father is a day labourer in a local quarry and the family scrape a living. As the youngest daughter, Jacintha has to look after her baby cousins and care for the animals, as well as do her homework. Jacintha is one of the children we have supported at the BCV International School. She has gained confidence and loves school. English is her favourite subject and she hopes one day to be a teacher. Through the Chris Powell Scholarship Fund, we want to help more children like Jacintha escape a life of poverty, drudgery and exploitation.
Why Chris Powell?
The fund has been created in memory of Chris Powell, a BBC journalist and later a senior UN diplomat, who lived and worked in Geneva until his sudden death in 2008. Chris built a successful career within the UN thanks both to his unforgettable personality, and to the power of educational opportunity. From a humble background, he was the youngest of six children, and the first of the family to gain a university degree. Chris was a long time supporter of Friends of India, and would be proud to put his name to this fund, which opens up educational opportunities for the poorest of the poor.
How to contribute to the Chris Powell Scholarship Fund
CHF 40 –funds one child in quality education, including fees, books and uniforms, for a month
CHF 480 – funds one child in quality education, including fees, books and uniforms, for a year
CHF 2,400– funds one child in quality education, including fees, books and uniforms, for five years
CHF 6,000 covers 12 years of education from primary to pre-university
CCP Account: 17-753012-7
UBS Switzerland 1260 Nyon
Friends of India
IBAN CH68 0024 0240 4399 3140 D
Please mark your payment ‘Chris Powell Scholarship Fund’