Schools and colleges in India have closed for the summer holidays and that provides a welcome break for students. But there are countless children in the country who have no concept of any such break, simply because schooling is not an option for them. Bringing these kids into the ambit of mainstream education is a task that governments, at the centre and in the states, have continuously striven to accomplish. Even with the best of intentions and all the resources at their command, they cannot do it on their own. Nonprofits, charities and civil society as a whole have to chip in — this is, after all, a shared responsibility — and that is where organisations such as the Tata Trusts can, and do, make a difference.
Our cover story turns the spotlight on how the Trusts are lending a hand to improve educational standards in India, not just at the school level but across the board. The commitment of the Trusts to this cause is longstanding. Education was the subject of the first of the many planned and organised philanthropic endeavours of the Tata group. That was in the form of the JN Tata Endowment, set up by group founder Jamsetji Tata in 1892 to provide financial support for Indian students desirous of pursuing higher studies abroad. Much, much more of such support has followed in the 127 years since.
Evolved and nuanced, the manifold education programmes of the Trusts today involves students and teachers, children and adults, marginalised communities and specific geographies. Driving this effort is clear-cut intent and impactful implementation. Our cover story has anecdotal narratives about a few select initiatives to illustrate how this is unfolding on the ground.
This edition of Horizons has other offerings as well: the splendid work the nonprofit SEARCH is doing in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra; a project in Chandrapur, also in Maharashtra, to make the community more vigilant about child abuse; an inland fishing programme in Andhra Pradesh; a solar energy initiative in Odisha; and a venture to house the homeless in Surat in Gujarat. Additionally, the magazine features interviews with Dr CS Pramesh, director of the Tata Memorial Hospital, and Suresh Subramani, who heads the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society.
Our photo-feature has a cultural hue this time and it freezes the fabulous work of artists from a variety of disciplines. And to round it off there’s Bittu Sahgal on creating ‘a climate for positive change’ to preserve and protect the biodiverse ecosystem of the only planet Homo sapiens can call their own.
Reading is good, they say, so do go on...Christabelle Noronha
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