Frequently Asked Questions
How can I help?
Padakshep is an organization run by people like you. We need your help. You can donate to Padakshep to run our scholarship program for the underprivileged students. You can also join Padakshep as volunteer. You can monitor and guide our students, write study materials for our “OTP” website, edit our “West Bengal Education Guide” or simply spread the word. Just contact us and we will get back to you.
How are the students chosen? and who will find the students who really need support?
Padakshep choses its beneficiaries solely on the basis of two criteria: Merit and Means. Madhyamik (secondary) and higher secondary students who have done exceptionally well under extreme economic hardship are selected by Padakshep. Since, the entire workforce of Padakshep is based in USA, we do our preliminary selection based on local newspaper reports such as Anandabazar Patrika, Bartaman, The Statesman, The Telegraph, Aajkal and Ganashakti. Following the madhyamik and HS results announcements, our members closely monitor these newspapers to short list students who meet our criteria.
For the final selection, we then contact these students, talk to their family members, neighbors and their school teachers/headmaster to know more about them. During the course of this process, the aim is to know how needy the student is and what does the student aim for in the future if Padakshep decides to help them. In most cases, we also ask our contact persons in Kolkata to meet the student’s family in person and give us a feedback. We also encourage the students to disclose if they have received any financial help from other sources. To our satisfaction, the students so far have been very honest in disclosing such details.
Once the students are selected, we often verify their financial conditions further by contacting the local government officials.
Why are you limited to West Bengal?
We have limited our works to West Bengal due to some specific practical reasons:
- no experience with education system of other states,
- dearth of volunteers from other states
Why are you limited to higher education?
We don’t want to be limited to higher education. We are highly concerned about the state of basic education in West Bengal and India in general. However, we should take small steps at a time and should not jump into big projects hastily. As for scholarship schemes, we need a standardized test across West Bengal and the first such examination is madhyamik pariksha and that is precisely the reason why we are supporting students who passed madhyamik exams successfully.
How will your money reach the students?
Following selection, we ask every student to open a bank account (personal or joint account with a parent). The money is then remitted directly to their accounts from Padakshep’s bank account in USA. The money is typically sent every 3 months.
Padakshep provides complete financial support to its beneficiaries. We send money to cover admission costs, hostel costs (if any), books, private tuitions, special courses (if any), and a small amount (typically INR 200-500 per month) for general sustenance based on the family condition.
Who will track the student’s performance? and How?
Monitoring students performance on a regular basis is an important part of Padakshep’s functioning and we carry that out in a number of ways :
- We periodically call their private tutors and find out about their progress, motivation and plans in general.
- We also call our students on a regular basis and talk to them and their family members about any specific or general concern that they might have.
- Padakshep has several advisors who are teachers or professors in respected Indian schools, colleges and institutions. They often provide guidance whenever the students have specific questions regarding higher studies options, or on the ways of preparing for competitive examinations after HS exams. The students are also encouraged to contact them or any of the members of Padakshep directly whenever required.
- In most cases, the Padakshep members have also met the students personally.
- Padakshep maintains a regular record of the substantiation of expenditure from the students.
What is your future goal?
Padakshep is still a fledgling organization, in the fourth year of its operation. We have supported sixteen students over the years. Our short term goal is to grow, have more people interested in our cause. With a larger workforce, we wish to extend our support to many more students and help them achieve their dreams.
Our long term goal is to do something on a larger scale. Currently we are supporting individual students who have done brilliantly against all odds. While everyone has a right to good education, not everyone gets it. Good education is only available in a few pockets and to a chosen few. The real challenge therefore is to provide a quality education in the remote parts of our country. Padakshep aims to contribute to that larger cause.