During the last few decades, ICA has nurtured and partnered with many organizations in different ways, including the initial founding. New initiatives, such as Asha for Education and Foundation for Excellence started as entities within ICA, and later burgeoned out as independent non-profits.
Asha for Education
Asha was founded in 1991 as an entity within ICA with the goal of providing basic education to underprivileged children in India. In the years since its inception, the organization has grown to having chapters all over the United States and in other countries as well. Asha supports groups in India that work on the issues of children’s education in different parts of the country. In the beginning, ICA actively facilitated Asha’s activities, and in 1998 Asha became an independent organization. ICA is in close contact with, and supports projects initiated by, Sandeep Pandey and Dr. Deepak Gupta founders of ASHA who have returned to India. Asha’s focus on children’s education has galvanized a number of volunteers across the globe. Today, there are over 66 Asha chapters worldwide: 45 in the US, 14 in India, and 7 in Europe, Singapore and Australia. To date, Asha has supported more than 385 different projects spanning 24 states in India. In terms of project funding, over $4,000,000 has been disbursed to these projects since Asha’s inception.
Foundation for Excellence (FFE)
FFE was set up in 1994 by Dr. Prabhakar Goel as an entity within ICA to enable meaningful transformation in the lives of bright but financially constrained students in India. This transformation is accomplished by providing financial assistance as well as mentoring and guidance to the students selected for such assistance. The students chosen are extraordinarily bright, financially under privileged, and in an approved field of study at a recognized institution. ICA has facilitated initial setup of FFE, which became an independent organization in 1997. Since its inception, FFE has assisted more than 10,000 students with a scholarship amount of more than $5.5 million in 25 states. Forty percent of the students helped are female. More than 3,000 students assisted have completed their higher education and are gainfully employed. US based volunteers coordinators identify volunteer facilitators in India who identify students and mentor and guide them in their education. More than 350 scholars who have completed their education have started to give back a part of their earnings to FFE, so other students can receive the same benefits they did.
Rejuvenate India Movement (RIM)
In 1999, ICA helped launch Rejuvenate India Movement (RIM), a network of organizations and individuals working together for India’s development, with a goal to catalyze a mass movement to strengthen democratic processes toward self-reliant development. Dr. Parameswara Rao, the founder of India Literacy Project (ILP) and Bhagavatula Charitable Trust, and an ICA Honoree, realized that mass action is needed for effective development on a national scale, and started RIM enlisting ICA’s support as well as support of other groups and NGO’s in India. RIM works by sponsoring volunteers who work full-time in a village on the felt needs of the villagers. RIM is impacting 31000 people in 100 villages in 11 states, through 65 sponsored volunteers and 25 partner NGOs.
ICA announced the successful launching of its pilot youth program during June-July 2008. Initiated in partnership with InSPIRE (India Summer Program Inspiring Reflective Exploration, website: www.SummerInIndia.org), the program aims at educating and engaging young generation of USA, mainly with South Asian roots, in community development and exposing them to Indian culture. Our initial focus is in health, environment, education, community development, women empowerment and e-Governance. Both these NGOs also seek to establish a Fellowship Fund for Leadership so as to help the young volunteers cultivate social activists in India to build their own capacity to find creative and innovative to fulfill their mission. The InSPIRE teams consist of young Indian-Americans as well as young Indians who live in India. InSPIRE is a non-partisan, non-religious 5-week long immersion program that reconnects young Indians and South Asians from abroad to India. It is an opportunity for young people to discover what they are passionate about and to re-evaluate their aspirations as they explore their relationship with the world around us. The program aims at building leadership skills by providing hands-on experience, inspiring confidence, and connecting them to like-minded participants.
American India Foundation (AIF)
In 2001, ICA helped with the initial launch of AIF, which is devoted to accelerating social and economic change in India. ICA also provided the initial training for the AIF Service Corps Fellowship, which sends skilled young Americans to work with NGOs in India for a ten month period. The fellowship helps exchange technical skills, intellectual resources and helps increase the capacity of Indian NGOs to continue their work while giving American leaders a good understanding of India.. AIF has invested in over 100 Indian non-governmental organizations while raising about $50 million since its inception. It is one of the largest secular, non-partisan American organizations supporting development work in India. AIF works with partners to implement programs in education, livelihood, and public health sectors in India – with emphases on elementary education, women’s empowerment, and maternal and child health, respectively. AIF, through its program Digital Equalizer, is bridging the digital divide by providing computers, internet access and training to improve learning and critical thinking amongst students of under-resourced Indian schools.
PlanetRead leverages popular Bollywood film songs, for mass literacy. President Bill Clinton called PlanetRead’s Same Language Subtitling (SLS) innovation, “A small thing that has a staggering impact on people’s lives”. Present reach: 150 million people every week: www.planetread.org
Seva was formed in 1991 by a group of Silicon Valley professionals to support organizations working for the underprivileged in rural India. The driving force of Seva was an urge to understand development issues in India and support organizations that took a creative approach to solving traditional, age-old problems. An emphasis was placed on projects which promised a “ripple-effect”, where the experience of the organization could be utilized by other, similar communities through replication of the project. Seva’s projects focused on children, women and rural community development. As a first project, Seva worked with a school in Pune to develop a mentorship program for the underprivileged children. This project later spread to 5 rural schools in Maharashtra with tremendous success. In 1996, Seva embarked on an innovative project to collect and ship medical supplies to India. This led to the project for shipping used computers to rural India a few years later. Seva has also used its network in the bay area for emergency relief efforts during natural disasters in the early 90’s. In 1998, SEVA merged with ICA to strengthen one another’s shared vision of development through innovation.