Sunday, August 06, 2006

Seniors Network

We have a problem? It is how we can approach and persuade the retired persons in their 60s and 70s in Orissa to mentor and monitor talented kids via FFE(Foundation For Excellence). The idea is to use the 1st post-Independence generation of India/Orissa who emerged out of opportunities extended to the people from poor and lower middle class, who were helped by Govt. to be Engineers/ Doctors / Professors/teachers etc. They had talent and were willing to work hard. These benificiries of Indian Independence are now getting retired over last 10 or so years. Many of them are in perfect health,have successfully raised their children. Their kids are now independent and adults. They have thus the expertise and time to mentor and monitor other's children - children with talent, willing to work hard but no career guidance as they are first generation to get educated from their families. This is a win - win situation. In most cases such people feel lonely as they have done their life's duties and tend to wither away. They have financial freedom, free time and various expertise.
But also they have lot of knowledge, in their various fields of expertise, and experience in raising children successfully. If a net work or such people can be established, and this free time and expertise harnessed, it will be very useful to the society at large. We can use the expertise of these men and women of high quality, to mentor and monitor the kids - and guide them to success in education and careers.
Limited benifit of this idea has been taken to establish the Foundation For Excellence facilitator network in last 5 years. About 75 persons are enrolled as facilitators, who are mostly working with their kids or contacts who are called FFE coordinators. Starting from a low 25 this type of network has helped in about 5 years to reward scholarship money to 223 students last year. They have received $45, 436.00 thousand last year(2005-2006) in scholarships.
This net work and others similar if developed can have a oversight over the deterioration and commercialization of education and stall the downward trend, while giving them something to live for. The ideal will be to have atleast 2 of them in each of 314 blocks of Orissa.