Support-A-Child (SAC) was established in 1985 as an initiative of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America (VHPA), to help eradicate illiteracy and improve living conditions of children from poor and disadvantaged families in India. A non-profit organization registered in the USA, SAC is run totally by volunteers’ efforts, with minimal overhead costs.
SAC long held the honor of being one of the earliest charitable initiatives in the USA and inspired a lot of other charities. As SAC competed for donations with these sister organizations, its beneficiaries in India suffered from the lack of funds. In the recent years, SAC has been reinvigorated under dynamic leadership and a team of dedicated volunteers.
To ensure “Satpatri Daan” SAC collaborates with various organizations dedicated to serving the poor and needy in India so that help reaches where it is most needed. One such organization is Bharat Kalyan Prathishthan, which runs several hostels in cities and some in remote villages and tribal regions of India, where poverty and lack of resources prevent youth from getting any education. To address the needs of this neglected populace, schools have been started in remote areas of Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Jharkhand, Assam, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Now we see the presence of BKP Hostels in all the states of Baharat. Bharat Kalyan Prathishthan (BKP), a project of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, with the help of about 200 associated organizations all over India, is dedicated to jan-kalyan and is an embodiment of the lofty principle of “Nar-seva is Narayan-seva.” For more information about BKP please visit www.sacbkp.org.
SAC Fund-Raisers in USA:
SAC routinely hosts world class cultural programs in multiple US cities that serve as great fund raisers and help raise awareness about the various projects undertaken by VHPA. In the year 2016, SAC hosted the dance troupe led by talented Aditi Bhagwat, a kathak dancer par excellence. The group presented “Krishnapriya”, the story of the Krishna’s divine love for the four nayikas in his life: his foster mother Yashoda, his friend and lover Radha, his sister Draupadi and devotee Meera. The troupe conducted a highly successful month long tour of 13 major cities in the USA. These shows are a great way to preserve and promote Indian performing arts and artists, not to mention the funds raised for a noble cause, making the endeavor a win-win for everyone involved.
Continuing this tradition, this year SAC plans to present a variety entertainment show. The performers include Sony TV fame mimicry artist Ashok Sharma, satirical poet Sanjay Jhala and a group of talented Rajasthani folk dancers led by Rekha Khatri and Ayushi Shekhawat. The group has been very well received in India, and the SAC team hopes that the Indian American community will wholeheartedly welcome them.
How SAC Works
Through these fund-raisers, Support-A-Child hopes to be the conduit between the well-meaning, generous donors and the truly needy sections of the populace back in India. The donations are used to run schools and hostels, and to provide nutritious food for needy children, in several Indian cities. When a donor sponsors a child, they receive the child’s picture, a short biography and an academic report card. Donors are encouraged to visit the SAC hostels and meet with the children they are helping.
Thanks to the generous donors, SAC supported 1139 children in 2015 and added more than 600 children to the pool of recipients, making the total number of children in SAC hostels 1738, with 774 boys and 964 girls, in the year 2016.
Support-A-Child (SAC) currently supports 30+ hostels in more than 15 Indian states. Boys and girls are housed in separate hostels. These children are from poor, underprivileged backgrounds; orphans or from single parent households. They include runaways, children of sex-workers, and abandoned children often seen begging on streets and railway stations. Many children come from terrorist hit areas, especially areas ravaged by Naxal rebels.
The mission of SAC is to provide quality secondary, and in some cases, post-secondary education to children from underprivileged backgrounds, from rural as well as urban parts of Bharat. SAC also recognizes the urgent need for safe havens for these children. For this reason, SAC hostels provide free lodging and boarding to all students enrolled in the program. After getting high school education, many of these children go for higher education. SAC program has produced many engineers, Ph. D’s, doctors and more. Many children move back home to their villages and work to uplift their communities.
There are several inspiring success stories such as described by a sponsor who visited one of the SAC hostels in India: “Once I met a boy from Punjab who was staying in the Sewa Dham hostel. He said that initially he did not like living in the hostel. He would run away because did not want to study. Gradually he grew to like the place; now he likes to study and has made several good friends, many of whom are from different states and cultures of Bharat.”
Education is perhaps the most potent tool in eradicating poverty from any society. SAC believes that the social fabric of the society can be strengthened when all members of the society have a chance to reach their full potential. The poor and uneducated youth of Bharat, if given the opportunity and the tools to succeed, can lend a hand to the growth of the country, instead of being a burden on the society. It is often said that charity is but a higher order of self-service. By helping the needy, we indeed enrich our own lives and make the world a better place for all of us.
Five Pillars of SAC to develop multi dimensional growth of child’s personality.
- Great values
How to Join SAC:
- Become a volunteer
- Visit SAC hostel
- Support a child