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Mesco’s Education Efforts for Poor Students


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October 17, 2014
moneylife
N. Madhavan


Mesco’s Education Efforts for Poor Students

For nearly four decades, Mesco has worked to improve the quality of life of the financially weak through meaningful education

dna-meet-the-giversModern Education Social & Cultural Organization (Mesco) was established in September 1968 with the vision of its founders, Dr AA Quereshi, SA Vohra and Dr MA Khatkhatay (currently its general secretary). It started as a small and humble effort—funds were raised by collecting old newspapers from donor families. The money generated was used to distribute textbooks and notebooks to needy students.

There has been no looking back for Mesco since those early days. Its annual budget has grown from just Rs3,000 to Rs8.5 crore and it reaches out to 80,000 poor families per year. The areas of operation are education, medical intervention and poverty alleviation. Mesco is accredited by Credibility Alliance and is empanelled with Tata Institute of Social Sciences. It is listed on the website of GiveIndia for donors to contribute.

According to Dr MA Khatkhatay, “Inability to meet school expenses for uniforms, books, shoes, etc, deprives the student from acquiring better education. These circumstances lead to school drop-outs.” School drop-outs are a problem all over India, especially girls. Mesco has intervened in Mumbai and its suburbs to make sure that there is continuity in education of the girl child in every family that it is involved with.

Mesco’s schemes under education include: educational aid, educational scholarships and enrolment in RC Mahim Municipal Urdu School which has about 2,000 students. Mesco has adopted the School since the last 18 years. Over the decades, this effort has gradually evolved into a programme that helps more than a thousand students every year for their educational needs by providing one-time aid to meet school expenses in the beginning of the academic year.

dna-meet-the-giversEducational adoption of students is done at Class VIII level and is based on the student’s performance in the previous three years. Full support is provided to the student until completion of his/her college education.

Scholarship is a ‘loan scholarship’ under which Rs50,000 to Rs70,000 per year is provided to students selected for professional courses. Repayment of the loan by the student commences after the student has completed his/ her studies and stabilised in employment.

Under its medical help programmes, Mesco runs three mobile clinics and two dispensaries in Mumbai. It also provides sustained dialysis support and medical aid, including that required for costly treatment or chronic medical issues. The sustained dialysis support scheme, started in 2012-13, provides lifetime support to those who need this critical help. In 2013-14 it helped 26 patients with this support at a total cost of Rs35 lakh. For some of its medical intervention programmes, Mesco has collaborated with AmeriCares India Foundation and Wockhardt Foundation which provide free medicines for distribution to needy patients.

Under its poverty relief programmes, Mesco provides sewing machines to needy women. Hoorbanu, a widow with two school-going children, is able to earn between Rs8,000 to Rs10,000 a month due to Mesco’s support. Mesco’s website says, “During 2013-14, we have assisted 3,626 school and college students, provided medical services to 391 patients under various schemes and to over 80,000 patients through our three mobile clinics and two fixed dispensaries; and provided poverty relief to 378 beneficiaries.”

Readers who wish to contribute to Mesco’s efforts with donation may contact Mesco at the address given alongside. Donors are eligible for income-tax exemption under Section 80 G of the Income Tax Act.