Help an under-privileged child

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Help an under-privileged child: Sponsor a child for USD $33 a month

Pune, IndiaPune, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

They come in all shapes and sizes. They are confused and dazed when they come. Then they make friends and gain confidence. Then they become their usual ever laughing selves.They are housed, fed, clothed, educated and above all loved. They are given a comprehensive foundation that includes study, p

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if they could all laugh and play, without a care, without a worry!
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The project is trying to address the problem of abandonment and neglect of children. This project aims to bring back children in trauma to the main stream. It addresses issues like gender bias, child labour, lack of education, prostitution, theivery, hunger and poverty. Children are the life of Maher NGO and we strive to provide them a home with love and care and equal opportunity, regardless of gender and economic status.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Maher is an NGO that was started in the year 1997 with the sole aim of development and support for battered women and children. This is done through the development of children's homes and women's homes. Maher has 29 children's homes at the moment with close to 850 children in various states throughout India.


Maher and its founder, Sister Lucy Kurien have received many honors, some of which are “Paul Harris Fellow” by Rotary International, “Global Women’s Summit 2011 Leadership Award” and an Award from the Nassau County Office of the Executive, New York etc.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

The children come from various traumatic backgrounds and their most important need is for love. As these children come from the streets, they are used to a life of danger and risk on the streets. They are with us not for food and shelter, they know very well how to fend for themselves. Their primary need that we have recognized is a need for love and respect. These children are housed, fed, cared for and loved. They are sent to schools and are slowly but surely weaned out of the habits formed from bad company.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Maher has worked in slums where there was no education for the children. Today, however, with years of our persistent effort, we can see communities where there is not a single child who doesn't go to school. Maher is working with the Pardhi community or the "Beggar's Colony" and has started many projects within the community for the welfare of the people. These include day care centres and balwadis operating free of cost for the local community members. Maher has also worked in many remote villages and slums.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Maher has started self-help groups for the welfare and development of women primarily. It is through the word of mouth that we have been able to gain trust in the many communities we work for and hence we have been successful in our work. These self-help groups are the medium through which the people are taught simple concepts of saving money and basic math skills. They are helped in getting microfinance loans for their own small projects and businesses. These self-help groups act as a platform for spreading awareness on various important issues like gender bias, lack of education etc.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Maher has been conducting its various projects in a sustainable manner through donations from friends of Maher, both in India and abroad. The size and scale of the project has been adjusted according to the funds available.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other NGOs who work on the same issue, but what differentiates Maher from those are its secular character and its aim of reaching out to the rural poor. Maher has in its aim to reach out to rural India, rather than focussing on urban cities, where most NGOs work.

Founding Story

Sister Lucy's fate was shaped by an incident in 1991, when a woman from a nearby slum knocked on her convent door one day, asking for shelter because her husband was threatening to kill her. Her plight was genuine, but Sister Lucy did not have the authority to take her in. So she asked her to come back the next day when hersuperior would return. That very night her prayers were suddenly interrupted by horrific shouting outside, and she ran out to investigate. The very same woman was burnt alive by her husband and she was 7 months pregnant. Both mother and baby died that night. This incident changed Sister Lucy's life and she decided to start an organization to help battered women.


Sister Lucy Kurien is aided by a team of dedicated social workers, both paid and volunteers. Hirabegum Mulla, the president of Maher NGO has been by Sister Lucy's side since the last 17 years. She knows the ins and outs in the working of Maher and is a great help to Sister Lucy. Maher is governed by a trust of 7 members, eminent individuals chosen and volunteering from the general society. All children's homes have housemothers to take care of the children. These are mostly women who had come to Maher for shelter and who decided to contribute back to Maher after they saw an improvement in their situation. Maher also has an administrative office with dedicated employees working towards fundraising. All of Maher's team has been led and inspired by the Founder Director, Sister Lucy Kurien.