More Than Money
Issue #37
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Money and Community

Table of Contents

“Personal Stories”

Starting Young - An 11-year-old Discovers Philanthropy

By (anonymous author), As told to Nicole Sanchez

You Can Keep Children Out of School but. You Can't Keep the School Out of Children
In 1985, Inderjit Khurana saw a problem and found a solution. She knew that many children in and around the city of Bhubaneswar, India couldn't go to school because they had to work and care for their younger siblings during the day. So she decided to "bring school to the children" who spent their days earning pennies by sweeping and by shining shoes. How? By starting a school on the train platforms of the city.

Over time, Ruchika Social Services was created to set up and run more train platform schools. Since the first train platform class met in 1985, the organization has grown to serve more than 4,000 children on train platforms and in surrounding slum areas.

When I was 11 years old, I helped organize an event at my school for Youth Philanthropy Worldwide and the Global Fund for Children. That's when I met Mrs. Inderjit Khurana and learned a lot about how she was helping children in the slums of Orissa, India stay off the streets and attend school. I thought Inderjit was amazing. She started a school on a train platform. Now there are lots of schools like the one she started.

After the Youth Philanthropy event, I went to my sixth-grade teacher, Zindy Mooney, and told her about the amazing woman I had met. Mrs. Mooney set up a date for Inderjit to talk to our class about what type of help would be most effective for the train platform schools. Our class decided to have a toy drive and an ice cream sale. The toys we collected would be used to create a toy library, so children at the schools could borrow toys to play with. The money we raised would go toward other things that the schools needed. We raised $300, collected nine boxes of toys, and found a donor to ship everything to the schools.

After this experience, I felt a great sense of accomplishment in myself. All young people in this world want to do something that will make them be remembered. I, personally, chose a way that would be beneficial to others. Like Inderjit Khurana, I strongly believe that no one should miss out on a fulfilling childhood.

How Far Can a Dollar Go?

At Youth Philanthropy Worldwide (YPW), we inspire young people (ages 8-21) to contribute to the global community. That's a lot easier than you might think. We've found that many American children and teenagers have no idea how much money they, as a group, control. Nor do they know how far one U.S. dollar can go in the developing world. Once they learn a few basic statistics, the response is often the same: "Why didn't anyone tell us sooner?"

  • In the United States, young people (ages 8-21) earn and control $211 billion per year. (This does not include their influence on the spending decisions of the adults in their lives.)1
  • Half of the world's population lives on $2 or less per day. 1.2 billion people survive on less than $1 per day.2
  • $3 is the cost of one mosquito net in Tanzania, which can prevent the transmission of malaria, one of the leading killers of children under the age of five in the region.3
  • $105 per month pays a teacher's salary, buys all classroom supplies, and provides transportation to and from school in Afghanistan.4
  • It costs 25 cents a day for the World Food Programme to feed a refugee.5

  • 1 National Harris Interactive YouthPulse Study , September 3, 2003.
    2 UN Millennium Report of the Secretary General, April 2000. " We the Peoples: The Role of the UN in the 21st Century ."
    3 The Economist. " For 80 Cents More ." August 15, 2002.
    4 The Afghan Women's Mission .
    5 United Nations World Food Programme . -Nicole Sanchez

    The train platform schools in India have inspired many of the young people with whom Youth Philanthropy Worldwide works in the United States. Students in the U.S. are now helping to create a mobile library, which will deliver toys and books to their peers in Orissa, India.

    For more information on the Ruchika Mobile Library, please contact Youth Philanthropy Worldwide's executive director, Nicole Sanchez, at nicole@ypworldwide . org.

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