Celebrate Independence Day with ClickToCare!

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As India celebrates its 68th Independence Day on Friday, we remain mindful that for millions of people across the country, independence is a dream yet to be realised. In particular, many of our country’s women and girls remain marginalised, discriminated against and dependent for life – a process that starts in childhood where education in poorer families is seen as a luxury that can only be afforded for boys, if at all.

Beyond the obvious and most important issue of equality, there are of course many, many reasons why education for girls is vitally important – for individuals, families and for society as a whole. Not only is education a human right, but research shows that when a girl stays in school her risk of child marriage decreases and her risk of dying during pregnancy or childbirth is significantly reduced as well (more benefits on this great infographic).

What’s more, women and girls spend 90% of their earned income on their family (versus 30-40% for men), and educating girls is also fundamental to a nation’s economic prosperity and development as well: when 10% more girls stay in school a country’s GDP increases by an average of 3%, while eliminating barriers to employment for women (education being perhaps the best way to do this) can result in a 25% increase in labour productivity (another great infographic!).

For all these reasons and more, this Independence Day, LetzChange launches a new campaign in partnership with Deepalaya with the aim of helping underprivileged girls from slum communities achieve independence through education.

From the 13-15 August, we’re cashing in your Facebook likes and shares and your Twitter retweets and mentions for donations towards Deepalaya’s project “Help to empower and educate a poor slum-girl.” All you have to do is #ClickToCare by liking, sharing and re-tweeting LetzChange Independence Day posts on social media, and we will donate to Deepalaya on your behalf – Simple Social Giving!

Click through to Facebook and Twitter now and let’s help bring independence to as many underprivileged girls as possible!

*Full instructions and terms & conditions can be found here.

Malavath Poorna – Reaching New Heights

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Can you remember what your proudest achievement was at age 13?

While we would always argue that personal achievements are relative – for one person conquering social anxiety may be far more demanding than conquering Mount Everest for another – there’s no doubt that 13-year-old Malavath Poorna has achieved something extraordinary.

On 25th May 2014, Malavath scaled the highest peak of Mount Everest, becoming the youngest woman ever to have done so. What’s more, she reached the highest point on earth by climbing the mountain’s more difficult Tibetan side, as opposed to the relatively more easier Nepalese side, which is closed to climbers under the age of 16.

Such an achievement makes a mockery of the discriminatory labelling and classification of human beings into categories based on grounds of gender, class, caste, ethnicity, sexuality and so on. Not only is Malavath female (gasp), she also ‘belongs’ to India’s lowest caste, the Dalits or ‘untouchables’. Malavath therefore belongs to two of the most discriminated-against groups in the country.

The perception that because Malavath is female and from a Dalit community she is somehow less human than others, less capable than others – ‘untouchable’ even – would be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious issue. But hundreds of thousands of people across India from Dalit communities face discrimination and are denied basic human rights like education. Even today, around 37% of people from Dalit communities survive on less than $2 a day and 45% are illiterate.

Much is being made in the media of Malavath’s origins and Malavath herself is rightfully proud of her achievement given the social and economic challenges she has had to overcome to realise it: “The aim of my expedition was to inspire young people and students from my kind of background” she says, in an interview with The BBC. “For a tribal like me, opportunities are very rare and I was looking for one opportunity where I could prove my calibre.”

The challenge for us, then, is to help remove the barriers that prevent people like Malavath from achieving their potential, whatever that potential may be. These barriers are both real and superficial. The real barriers such as the lack of basic requirements including education, nutrition and so on can be overcome if we all take responsibility for doing our bit to support poor and marginalised people and communities.

The superficial barriers like caste and gender, while very real in the restrictive force they impose, can begin to be overcome by recognising achievements like that of Malavath’s as ‘human’ rather than ‘Dalit,’ and of course in removing these superficial barriers we also take an important step towards tackling the ‘real’ barriers as well.

In recognition of Malavath’s extraordinary achievement, why not make a donation to a vetted and verified NGO project on LetzChange and help support marginalised people and communities in India.

Click here to get started!

Celebrating Rs. 1.5 million raised on LetzChange!

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We are delighted to announce that in less than 3 months you have helped raise over Rs. 1.5 million on LetzChange for 3 of India’s most respected and high-impact NGOs – Educate Girls, SGBS Trust (Unnati) and Bhumi!

A big thank you to everyone who has helped make this happen. We, the NGOs and especially their beneficiaries are immensely grateful for your support and we look forward to raising many more millions for the underprivileged people of India over the coming months and years.

To celebrate the change you have helped bring about so far, for a limited time only our sister organisation LetzDream Foundation has agreed to extend the Spotlight Giving donation match campaign to ALL NGOs on LetzChange. This is a fantastic opportunity to make an even bigger impact with your donation at no extra cost to you. Simply make a donation to any NGO on LetzChange and it will be instantly matched!

With over 70 Indian NGOs focused on causes as diverse as women’s rights, disability, homelessness, education, and children and youth, LetzChange makes discovering and donating to Indian NGO projects a simple, social and secure experience.

Click here to find an Indian NGO project to donate to now.

The Bhumi Snowball Effect

Bhumi is one of the largest youth based non-profit organisations in India, with hundreds of volunteers education thousands of disadvantaged children from slums and orphanages across the country.

In this short video you can meet some of the happy children benefiting from Bhumi’s extensive education program, which includes computer literacy, English, and mathematics as well as providing plenty of much needed care, compassion and confidence-building – developmental necessities that have unfortunately been denied many of these children.

As Bhumi Co-Founder Dr. Prahalathan explains, “Bhumi believes that every under-privileged child deserves quality education. We have transformed this conviction into a volunteering opportunity for India’s youth, launching a snowball effect of talent nurturing talent on the path to an educated, poverty-free India.”

Right now on LetzChange as part of our Spotlight Giving donation match campaign, when you make a donation to Bhumi to support the education of a child in need, we will match it – doubling the impact of your donation at no extra cost!

To find out more and make a donation to this fantastic Indian NGO click here.

A Picture Worth 1000 Words: Send a Girl to School & End Child Marriage

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Today India celebrates National Day of the Girl Child – a day of celebration to increase awareness among people about all the inequalities faced by girls in our society.

Nowhere is gender inequality more apparent, nor perhaps more damaging, than in education where on average a girl in India can expect to receive just 4 years of education in her lifetime. As a consequence she has little hope for an independent future and is vulnerable to serious exploitation including child labour and early marriage. In fact, 68% of girls are married before the legal age in Rajasthan, and 15% before they even reach their 10th birthday.

These awful statistics are poignantly brought to life in the picture you can see above, which was drawn by Gauri – a 9 year-old girl from Pali in Rajasthan – who was asked to draw her thoughts on education as part of a drawing competition organised by the NGO Educate Girls.

On the left, she crayoned a boy and a girl walking around a sacred fire, the symbol of Hindu weddings. On the girls chest you can see a mangal sutra, which is the necklace worn by married women. Both children seem unhappy and even though they are holding hands, their faces look forlorn and helpless. On the right hand side of the paper, Gauri drew the same children but this time they are smiling happily, wearing school uniforms, and walking towards a building where the words ‘Rajasthan High School’ are written.

Fortunately, Gauri is one of the thousands of girls now benefiting from the life-changing work carried out by Educate Girls. The organisation reforms government schools through community ownership, leveraging existing resources, empowering rural communities and mobilising local youth volunteers as positive ambassadors for education. The result? In just five years Educate Girls have helped over 58,000 girls return to school or enrol for the first time, dramatically improving their prospects for the future, while at the same time reducing the immediate risks of early marriage and child labour.

Here at LetzChange we are proud to be working with this fantastic, high-impact NGO. That’s why as part of our recently launched Spotlight Campaign we are matching all donations made to Educate Girls. For example, if you donate Rs. 500, LetzDream will add another Rs. 500, doubling the impact of your donation!

For just Rs. 250 you can send an out of school girl child back to school. Why not celebrate National Day of the Girl Child today by making a donation to Educate Girls on LetzChange?

Click here to donate and change a life now!

Double The Impact Of Your Donation!

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Introducing Spotlight Giving – a new initiative from LetzChange helping you make an even bigger impact with your charitable donations – at no extra cost!

For a limited time only LetzChange will shine the ‘spotlight’ on three high-impact Indian NGOs to celebrate their inspiring work and help them reach their fundraising goals. Every time you make a donation to one of these Spotlight NGOs our sister organisation LetzDream Foundation will match it – doubling the impact of your donation!

With a focus on improving the education and employment opportunities of India’s underprivileged children and youth, the first three Spotlight NGOs and their primary projects are:

– Educate Girls: Send an out-of-school girl child back to school

– SGBS Trust (Unnati): Help capable underprivileged youths find employment

– Bhumi: Sponsor the education of a child in need

All you have to do is select a project from the above NGOs that you would like to support, make your donation online using the LetzChange simple, secure and trusted online payment process and your donation will instantly be matched by LetzDream foundation. Simple!

Keep an eye on LetzChange.org and the LetzChange Facebook page over the coming weeks for much more on our donation match campaign including inspiring stories of change, video tours of the Spotlight NGOs, Q&A sessions with their founders, and much more!

Why not make a donation to a Spotlight NGO today and see how we can change India for the better, together.

Celebrating International Day Of The Girl Child

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On the 19th of December 2011, the United Nations declared the 11th of October each year to be International Day of the Girl Child. A day dedicated to recognising girls’ rights and the challenges they face every day around the world.

The theme of the 2013 commemoration according to the UN, “Innovating for Girls’ Education”, has been chosen to draw attention to the obligation and moral imperative to fulfil a girls’ right to education. Reports show that although progress has been made to encourage and ensure girls are receiving education, there is still a significant number who are being deprived of this basic right, particularly in India where discrimination against girls and women remains a deeply disturbing reality.

So, we ask the question, ‘Is it more important for a girl to reach her full potential? Or be pushed into an early marriage, stunting her emotional and mental growth?’

Babatunde Osotimehin, M.D, Executive Director, UNFPA, has said: “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the very best for their daughters, we must work together and end child marriage.”

We feel that education is perhaps the best way for these marginalised girls to prosper in their future. Indeed, research shows that girls who stay in education for seven years or more marry 4 years later and have 2 fewer children.

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It’s for this reason that you’ll find so many projects on LetzChange dedicated to educating the Girl Child. From giving the gift of education to a disadvantaged girl to sponsoring a tribal girl to enter mainstream education, there are many ways for you to make a stand and get involved to help improve the lives of individuals, families and society as a whole. As the research complied by USAID in this infographic shows, “A woman multiplies the impact of an investment made in her future by extending benefits to the world around her, creating a better life for her family and building a strong community”.

This International Day of the Girl Child, why not take a look through the numerous NGO projects on LetzChange dedicated to educating girls and let’s see if together we can provoke a seismic cultural change towards this serious subject.