A group of present and former students of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira, Belur, have started a fundraising drive to help 30 school students encountering extreme poverty amid the pandemic with Rs 500 each per month for a year.
Students of Baranagar Swami Vivekananda Work Circle are also separately raising Rs 1 lakh for the needs of school students like application form fees and admission fees.
Students of Classes IX and X who study in institutions outside the ambit of Ramakrishna Mission will be helped, said Avisekh Lahiri, a member of the circle, who is studying integrated PhD at the Indian Association for the Cultivation of Science. “Students under RKM get assistance during distress. But underprivileged students outside the purview of RKM have been encountering financial constraints amid the pandemic. We want to help some of them,” said Lahiri, who passed out from Vidyamandira last year.
The drive that started in June has raised Rs 15,000 so far. It will continue for two months. An appeal with the donation link has been posted on the circle’s Facebook page.
The circle will get in touch with schools for details of students coping with financial distress and shortlist 30 from among the applicants.
A monk attached with Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Sargachhi, Behrampore, said they want to help students continue their studies. “Families have been so adversely impacted in the lockdown that they are not able to provide the support to help their wards continue studies. We are trying to provide the bare minimum support,” he said.
“From offering free tutorials to providing financial assistance, our students are trying to help those in distress in as many ways as possible,” said Swami Ekachittanada, the principal of Vidyamandira.
Around 60 members of the circle are engaged in the fundraising drive. Throughout the pandemic, the members have been providing books from their book bank to underprivileged children.
The students of the college under the banner of ‘Kheya Paribar’ have launched an initiative to prepare an online database, containing details about the persons or facilities delivering oxygen cylinders, providing ambulances, medicines and other emergency services in one’s neighbourhood.