A candle of hope

May 27, 2013, 11:12 IST | Ruchika Kher

A new volunteer-based initiative, The Candle Project, is trying to provide holistic education to children from economically disadvantaged communities, to help build a successful future

“I believe that if you want things to happen. you’ve got to get off that chair, break some sweat and make it happen!” most of us will echo 22-year-old Jasmeet Thind’s thought, but how many implement it? To refrain from being caught in the ‘all talk, no work’ mindset he initiated The Candle Project (TCP), a volunteer-based organisation that provides experiential learning to children from low income / slum communities. The organisation adopts international / convent schools with high infrastructure resources, which serve as centres for learning and teaching. As of now, TCP works with 80 children from slums in Versova, Andheri (W). It is in the process of opening more centres across Mumbai and add a new city by September.

Future Steve Jobs? Kids getting to know the features of a laptop at a class, which is part of The Candle Project

What do they do?
“At The Candle Project our aim is to bridge the gap that exists between societies and we do that by catering to the most basic parameter that separates them — education. TCP isn’t an extra-class programme for slum kids where they are taught school subjects. We help our kids dream big and nurture them too. We provide our children with opportunities to make their dreams believable and goals achievable. Our children are smart; they attend schools but aren’t well educated. Our aim is to get them on par with other kids who dream and work towards it,” says Thind, who is a marketing professional.

TCP adopts schools with good infrastructure as their centres and teach kids over the weekends when the school is not open to its students. The volunteers focus on conversational English, computers, art and performing arts as their curriculum. An average TCP class has six kids (who are divided according to their abilities) and two teachers for a personalised impact.

Why it’s different?
“Technology has been one of the most ground breaking factors at TCP. We’ve just launched an android app for our volunteers that track the real time progress of our kids. This helps us in being more efficient,” explains Thind.

Currently, the organisation has 50 individuals from different walks of life and as young as 14 years of age. “Our volunteers are an interesting mix of students, media professionals, corporate professionals and entrepreneurs; our youngest leader is a 14-year-old school boy while our oldest volunteer is a 54-year-old High Court lawyer,” he adds. “We want to be self-sustainable with funding. To tackle this, we plan to launch our merchandise; we’ve already finalised a few cool designs, which should be out by next month,” he informs.

Log on to www.thecandleproject.org

How to sign up?
Those keen to volunteer can log on to their website and join the movement by filling up a form. After receiving the application TCP’s recruitment team connects with the applicant who is selected via a process that includes telephonic interviews, group discussion and a personal interview round. 

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