Sahaya- How engineering students are changing society

We are delighted to have with us Nithin Ellanki, the President of Sahaya(We care for you)- an NGO that works with the aim of helping people in there all round development in all forms of life. The team of this NGO believes in the need to make people self-sufficient and independent in life.
Q. Tell us something about your background and your journey so far.
We are all pursuing Bachelors in Engineering at CMR College of Engineering, Hyderabad. Some of us had little or no prior experience in the NGO sector when we started but we knew that sometimes NGOs help better than many other government organisations. In India there are many people who want to help and each one of us has contributed towards the idea of how this NGO should work. At the inception, the NGO comprised of a small group with a handful of our friends and well-wishers mostly from our college in the year 2010, but we wanted it to expand so that it can help many more, hence we got it registered under government laws in the year 2011. Well, to be honest, the journey has not been smooth so far, but we strive hard every single day.
SRC Classes in the NGO
Q. Why were you so fascinated by this sector and did you have anyone to guide you?
It was actually my own experience which led to start this organisation. I was funded by someone during my inter education through a sponsorship and hence felt that many others may also need similar help. I did some ground work by contacting many people who were already helping others which led to my belief for the need to start an organisation like this.   Presently we are self-guided and we are trying to get a good educationalist as Director for our SRC program.

Q. How much do you feel MBA/higher studies helped in your starting the NGO?

Unfortunately, we haven’t   got any MBA for starting this NGO, we are still amateurs but we have students who would pursue MBA after graduation. Yes, having them would actually bring in more professionalism along with asset & project management skills. Hopefully, by next year we should see lot of MBAs participating in our NGO and driving us to our set goal smoothly.
Q. Please give us an overview of your NGO model
One of the main concerns of India is education. Not many of the deprived sections of our society feel that education is a good investment though the benefits come after a long term. This is the reason they don’t take care in their child’s education. We at Sahaya NGO firstly want to emphasize the benefit one gets through education as well as the monetary value of education to the parents, so that they would engage their offsprings primarily in education. The kids would be studying their class materials and also the exercise we give them as homework, based on child’s capabilities and strengths. Furthermore, we also conducted remedial classes, though it has so far comprised of just boys, we also want to encourage parents to get their daughter a basic education. This is the major concern. Health is another area that concerns us, so with optimum funds we also want to expand our horizon in the field of health care.
Educating the kids to create a better society
Q. How do you intend to scale up your NGO?
Our main aim is to reach people and help them which cannot happen overnight, but we intend to keep on trying. Initially we want to take our NGO and its purpose to the people by conducting some competitions. Soon we are going to start various programs under our NGO. We would actually be happy with our efforts if at least one of the pupils we teach accomplishes graduation. We are a little inexperienced so we would like to have a mentor. After getting him/her we would like to collaborate with decade old NGOs like Pratham etc., share our experiences and execute plans with the help of our mentor. In the next five years we should have our NGO guiding at least 10,000 students from different states and offering best healthcare to the deprived.
Q. What differentiates you from others in this field?
There are many government organisations and NGOs helping for education, healthcare etc. When you have a look at yellow pages you would find contact numbers of various NGOs spread through 214pages of this 20cm*20cm book just in Andhra Pradesh alone. Does this mean they are getting proper help? Probably! Our motive at Sahaya is, whatever they are getting form us should help them definitely!  Also our scope is a little different, we are mainly concerned with pupils of the age 13-16yrs where guidance is very important because they are prone to many distractions and most importantly it is the foundation for further academic accomplishments. We are concerned with the ones who have already had formal education, because these kids are from government schools where there is a very bad pedagogy, so we ought to guide them. Finally, we are young, determined and have high patience quotient which makes us different.
Q. How have you funded your NGO? What are the other sources of funding you are looking for in future?
Initially we arranged the money by collecting from our college students and by contributing ourselves but now seeing our project some people are coming forward to contribute financially but we need a lot more in future. We are also planning to organise some campaigns to promote our Ngo.
Q.What do you think is the most important quality in a successful management of NGO?
It is the determination to bring a change, team work, thinking different and seeing what others can’t see. But hard work is what is required for a work to be complete.
Q. Any advice for our readers
Accept a change when it comes, but never wait for a change. You can be the change, so let’s come together and bring the change.
If you wish to help or connect with Sahaya, you can reach Nithin by email at .


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Pritam Mukherjee

keep up the good work..:)

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