We were inspired to set up our charity, ramvij, by the memory of our grandfather, Ramhai Patel. He was known as the Prince of Baroda (Baroda is a city in the northwestern state of Gujarat in India). Our grandfather was accorded his princely status because of his generous heart and care for those in need around him. He invited who arrived on his doorstep to enter his home, treating them as a member of his family, and feeding them as much as they wanted until they could eat no more.
Homelessness, the struggle to survive and lack of opportunity exist today in India just as they did in our grandfather's day. Ramvij's mission is to further our grandfather's legacy by raising funds to support directly projects that help abandoned and needy children - by giving them shelter, food, and educational opportunities that will improve their life prospects.
At the moment Ramvij raises funds only through family and friends, who mostly donate on sea monthly basis. Ramvij also holds charity events, such as the Mehfil nights, which bring in additional fundraising. Because the charity is run entirely by family members and friends giving their time free of charge, there are currently no administration costs: 100% of the funds raised are used directly to help the children.
Achievements and Goals
Over the past nine years Ramvij has raised over £118,000 which has been used for a number of key projects in Gujarat, principally associated with Kasturba Sevashram (i).
We reached our first fund raising goal on 1 March 2008 by supplying mattresses with pillows and covers for the children at the Kasturba Sevashram, which gives hundreds of abandoned children a home.
By 1 January 2009 Ramvij had also been able to achieve its second goal of supplying 376 metal bunk beds with mosquito nets for the children at the ashram.
From 2014, Ramvij committed to improving the children's educational and job prospects by providing computer equipment and teaching. We are proud to have been the first agency to provide computer lessons in the ashrams situated in the rural villages, and also to support the Adivasi (ii) children with modern technology.
Ramvij has funded the creation of computer rooms at each of the four ashrams and has committed to providing computing tuition at a cost of £2,200 pa over the next three years.
From 2014/15, in response to an increase in student numbers, Ramvij has also funded the creation of additional and expanded computer rooms in the ashrams as well as a teacher with a salary of £4,520 pa. During our visit to the ashrams at the end of January 2016, we did a number of tests with some of the children to see what computer skills they have learned. We were delighted that they had made very good progress, bearing in mind that a few years back some of them were too scared to even touch the computers, fearing that they would break them.
Ramvij has also raised money for several wooden tables and benches, each seating six children. The cost for each set is £25, which is for labour and sundry materials only as the ashram is providing the wood.
Towards the end of 2015, Ramvij provided funds to help the ashram to renovate the dining areas in Maroli and Ambawadi.
In order to develop the children's education further, and increase their future opportunities, Ramvij is also funding the teaching of English in all four of the ashrams. There was a slow start but over the past six months there has been very impressive progress. The salary cost is approximately £2,700 pa.
By the last quarter of 2017, we had raised enough funds to build a cow shelter (Dhenoo Girgaushala) and purchase 15 Gir (iii) cows. This means we are now able to provide milk to three out of four ashrams.
Our goal for 2018 was to increase the number of cows to 30 for the existing cow shelter, then in 2019 to double this to a total of 60 cows including additional cow shelter needs. This will mean that we should be able to provide milk two times a day to all of the children in all four of the ashrams and have surplus milk to sell to local dairies to generate income to meet expenses.
If you would like to be part of our mission to help disadvantaged children then please help us by making a donation. You can log onto our website www.ramvij.org. where you will find details of making a single payment or if you wish you can support the charity on a long term basis by filling in the standing order form. Alternatively you can contact us at the email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
(i) Kasturba Sevashram was formed bank in 1930, one of the oldest Indian independent non-profitable organisations, with Mahatma Gandhi laying the foundation stone to build the Maroli Ashram. Today, amongst its other health and social care activities, the Sevashram also looks after the welfare and education of some 900 orphaned and disadvantaged children across its centres. For more information see: kasturbasevashram.org.
(ii) A member of any of the aboriginal tribal peoples living in India before the arrival of the Aryans in the second millenium bc.
(iii) The Gir is a type of cattle originating in India. Originating in the Gir forest (Gujarat), they are considered to be very gentle with a high milk yield.
The Charity has much work it would like to do against a backdrop of limited financial resources. The main objective of the management is to maximise donations in the coming year.
Most of the Charity's funds are needed for short term activities and therefore there is little need to tie up funds in long term investments. As a result most funds are invested in cash deposits.
The management committee approve expenditure on projects once funds are available. In the light of this all funds are regarded as unrestricted funds and no formal policy of maintaining reserves has been implemented.
Plans for future periods
The charity plans to continue with its principal activities subject to satisfactory funding.
Structure, Governance and Management
The organisation is a charitable company limited by guarantee incorporated on 7 June 2010 and registered as a charity on 23 June 2010. The company is governed by its memorandum and articles of association.
The directors of the company are also charity trustees for the purposes of charity law. The articles of association do not provide for a separate management committee.
The trustees are sufficiently familiar with the work of the charity so as not to require any formal training. The current trustees are all family members who meet and confer frequently to pursue the charity's objectives. The trustees have considered the major risks to which the charity is exposed. They believe existing controls and procedures have minimised those risks.
There are no related parties involved in the carrying out of the Charity's activities.