Sponsor a Child (SAC)

Some of the children who have benefited from the SAVE A SMILE Program.

There are hundreds more who need our help
Click here for more pictures of past beneficiaries

The refugee camps in Jammu and Kashmir house hundreds of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits displaced from their homes as a direct result of the Islamic militancy in the valley. This tragedy has resulted in children being denied the opportunities that we take for granted. Since 1995, the Kashmiri Overseas Association, USA has implemented the Sponsor-A-Child Program for the age group 5 year olds to 17 year olds. This program aims to provide educational opportunities to the children directly affected by the tragedy. While individuals worldwide have contributed to these programs more children are in need of our financial support than currently available funds can support, there are many more that deserve our assistance.

Objective of the Program

  • To provide tuition, school supplies and living expenses to school children who are currently living in refugee camps.

History

The program started in 1995 to bring much-needed financial help to the indigent children of school-going age, from the refugee camps that have sprouted around Jammu in the wake of the exodus of the KP community from Kashmir. Shri Pran N. Kaul of Fremont, CA is the program coordinator. He maintains a list of children in need of support, with the help of a local liaison in Jammu, which he furnishes to prospective sponsors on request. In the first year 36 children were supported through this program.

Sponsors

Community members and friends of the community are approached to take part in this program by becoming sponsors. Some community members have set up foundations in the name of their loved ones and are encouraged to sponsor through their foundations. There are some employers who match funds for such non-profit charitable causes. Sponsors are requested to explore such a possibility with their employers. Every drop helps.

Cost

The cost of sponsoring a child was originally pegged down at about $16 per month. During the past few years it has however, become evident that the cost is around $250 per year. Contributions to the children are tax deductible, if routed through KOA.

Zero-Overhead Program

100% of the funds collected are distributed to the selected children through a registered non-profit organization in India. All people managing and coordinating these programs are volunteers.

Process/Distribution

Sponsors/Donors select the child they want to support from the list(s) furnished to them by the program coordinator on request. Payments are typically made by sponsors every six months, though a great number of them make yearly payments. Sponsors are required to mail their checks for the children to Shri Pran Kaul who keeps track of all payments and sends reminders to sponsors to mail their checks when due. After receiving checks from sponsors, KOA in turn issues checks in the name of the children, which are mailed to liaison in Jammu, for distribution.

KOA Support A Child (SAC) Program
KOA Support A Child (SAC) Program

Update and Liaison

With a view to fostering rapport between the sponsors and the children supported by them, the children are encouraged and exhorted to write to their sponsors and vice versa. It not only helps the child feel a sense of belonging, but it also provides a unique opportunity to a sponsor to be a mentor to a hapless child who is otherwise adrift in a sea of misery, and without any sense of purpose or direction. Sponsors are expected and encouraged to evince interest in a child’s education by keeping track of his or her progress at school by asking for progress reports or marks cards and other similar documents issued by a school periodically.

KOA appeals to all the community members and friends of the community to rise to the occasion, as the need of providing financial help, counsel and guidance to the children is acute and real. Their parents are invariably either illiterate or lack the wherewithal to be of any help to their children. Our responsibility and commitment to these children is not just limited to mailing checks to them, but we have to play a much broader role in shaping their future, otherwise a whole generation will be lost for good. It is our duty to help a fellow KP in need; we owe this to ourselves and to our community. The time to make a difference is now, not tomorrow or a year from now. Needless to say, this is the best way to help our less fortunate brethren back home. KOA thanks all the sponsors who have supported the children over the past several years and take active interest in the welfare of the children. We would like to utilize this opportunity to appeal to others who have preferred to remain on the sidelines, to step on the plate and bring much-needed succor to a fellow KP in need and in a state of abject penury. If you are not a sponsor yet, please become one. Your community needs you.

Donations are tax-deductible

Provide your assistance today and help create a better family for tomorrow. There are needy and deserving children who will receive an education with your contribution. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our less fortunate children. To join this program as sponsors or if you need more information, please contact KOA.

If you need any further information regarding this program or have any questions or comments please feel free to e-mail Shri Pran Kaul at pkaul01@yahoo.com.

Together we can make a difference in the lives of our less fortunate brethren. We thank you again for your support.


[ download the brochure]

SAC Over The Years (1995-2015)

SAC


PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Swapna Raina

Swapna RainaSwapna Raina was born in Srinagar, Kashmir. After graduating from University of Kashmir she continued her education outside Kashmir. She is an MBA from University of Rajasthan. Professionally she has been in the financial industry for the last 24 years. Swapna currently works as a Treasury Management Consultant for M&T Bank. She came to US in 1993 and lives in Maryland with her husband Rakesh and two children, Shivani and Sachin.

As an active member of the Kashmiri community, and as ex-member of the Board of Directors of KOA, she has had the benefit of experiencing the ups and downs of our community. It is due to this close involvement and personal experience that she faced during unfortunate times of migration, is she able to closely relate to the community and its members, regardless of age.

Being a parent of two children she understand the importance of good education for our youth. Due to the well known turmoil that our community had to go through during the 90’s, Swapna’s own school and higher education years were spent under not so ideal conditions. By volunteering her time she wants to contribute towards ensuring that our children who have a lot of potential do not have to suffer because of their limited resource.

In her spare time, Swapna loves to cook and dance for fun.has been doing so in Jammu.

PROGRAM CO-DIRECTOR

Gopal Kaul

Gopal KaulGopal Kaul (s/o Mrs. Vimla and Mr. P K Kaul) lives in Cary, NC since 2001 with his wife Shaifali and two sons, Rohan & Nikhil. Loves to cook and eat Kashmiri food and is learning to adapt to being an empty nester from past one year. He has worked in leadership roles in both India & US and has a very entrepreneurial spirit. He has been associated with KOA for 10+ years, is very active in the local Kashmiri community and supports the KOA Education Assistance Program from past several years.