April 1st, 2013
March 28th, 2013
Dear Friends of Atma:
In January 2012 I wrote to many of you and told you of our new and ambitious goal to reach 20 partners by the end of the 2012-13 fiscal year. It is now April 1st, and we did it! (No kidding). 20 inspiring education NGOs in Mumbai.
Statistics about education in India tell a damning story:
- 20% of India’s poor have no access to education;
- 86% have no access to technical and vocational training;
- 45% drop out of school before eight grade
(Indian Philanthropy Report, 2012, Bain)
Luckily, statistics like these have motivated the amazing founders of our NGO partners to work whole-heartedly to find solutions to the challenges of quality education and actually provide quality education in Mumbai.
Big problems need big solutions, but we shouldn’t have to go it alone. That’s why Atma is working in these NGOs, because we know many solutions together will create the changes India needs in education.
Just like our partners Atma could not do it alone. It is individuals like you who make our work possible, whether through donations,connections, or moral support. The Atma International Chapters – in Netherlands, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong are our ever present support and inspiration. It would be literally impossible for us to do our work without them.
A big round of applause to the whole Atma team- staff and volunteers, who whether, manning the phones and filing paper work, running workshops, writing manuals or traipsing through the furthest forgotten corners of our (not always) fair city have really made achieving this goal possible. Each and everyone of them should be incredibly proud of their accomplishments and the personal milestones they have achieved on the way.
Finally, we would like to acknowledge Atma’s 20 partners for their perseverance and willingness to grow their organisations to reach more children lacking the quality education they dream of. Their commitment and passion motivates us to push ourselves a little more each day.
Atma is named Atma (soul in Hindi) because it is these many people in their different capacities that will really create the change we need – united in our efforts. Thank you to every one who has continued to support Atma, and congratulations to all of our NGO partners!
Mary Ellen Matsui
November 16th, 2012
Picture 1 of 23
45-50% of children attending public schools in Mumbai cannot read or write a paragraph. 45% of children from Indian public schools drop out before standard 8. Despite the existence of hundreds of education NGOs in Mumbai, these abysmal statistics persist.
April 6th, 2012
“Last week Atma founder Hayley Bolding was nominated for the Young Australian of the Year 2013 award.
Having had the good fortune of knowing Lee closely this did not come as a surprise. I have had the privilege of witnessing her incredible journey from being a girl with a dream to becoming a visionary, a founder and an engaged world citizen.
As a 23 year old visitor to India, Hayley was struck by the sheer number of social entrepreneurs working to address issues of quality education in Mumbai. Their amazing spirit motivated her to help them achieve their goals. This basic sentiment of wanting to help germinated into an idea which ultimately set off Hayley and her colleague Adrienne into founding Atma.
Being foreigners in a foreign land though,meant an uphill road. Despite encountering innumerable road blocks, both cultural and logistical, Hayley persevered with exemplary grit and determination. Every failure, every wrong turn, was a lesson learned and was used to make easier the path of Atma’s partners in their own struggles to establish themselves.
Hayley is a strong & determined individual. But anybody who has had the opportunity of meeting her would know that her biggest strength lies in her engaging personality. It is hard not to be taken in by this remarkable woman who exudes warmth. Her passion for Atma is infectious and is one of the reasons our organisation has gained as many dedicated supporters and well-wishers as it has.
Today, 5 years later, we at Atma ,find ourselves in an extremely exciting growth phase. Through 5 Graduated and 10 Current Partners, Atma has been able to reach out to over 12000 children around Mumbai.
That we would not have gotten this far without Lee’s vision, drive and perseverance is obvious. It is however her continued engagement and guidance as a Founder and advocate of Atma, that gives us the strength and motivation to help transform her idea and vision into reality.”
(Author note: Mary Ellen Matsui joined Atma as a volunteer in 2008. She currently works as Executive Director of Atma.)
Hayley Bolding- Young Australian of the Year Nominee
March 28th, 2012
In the afterglow of Atma’s 5th Anniversary party at Blue Frog, we are reflecting on the collaboration that it takes to pull off NGO events. It’s easy to put on an enormous event with a big project budget and an extensive, skilled team to work with. What if you had to host a concert without spending a rupee?
Atma’s UNITE! Concert at Blue Frog was held in recognition of our 5 year anniversary as an organisation. Over 400 people came out to celebrate 5 years of Quality Education with Atma. Some of these people contributed in a bigger way, giving of their time and energy to allow the event to happen. Tara Humphries of BREED shared her thoughts on the importance of community collaboration and what was required to pull off an event at such a scale.
“UNITE! was an amazing success that literally personified the name of the event, by “uniting” individuals from various backgrounds to come together and support Atma’s cause in strengthening organizations and growing education. While being an Atma volunteer and being heavily involved in the music scene in India, it was really exciting to see fellow musicians, fans, event organizers and music lovers both participate in and eagerly support this event with such enthusiasm. Each artist, photographer, media person, radio spokesperson, sponsor, programmer, designer or fan that contributed some of their time was so happy to do so. This created a very positive resonating effect, even after the event. The event made it clear that the city and community of Mumbai is filled with people from all walks of life, all of whom are ready and willing to contribute to a cause. However, sometimes they’re not sure how to do so. Atma has been hugely successful at reaching those people by bringing them together to support a cause. UNITE! was a perfect example of how they continue to find innovative ways to do so.”
Three bands, one venue, one press sponsor, one travel sponsor, one accommodation sponsor and ten volunteers made the evening happen, and made it a success.
Community collaboration towards a common cause is what made Atma’s anniversary event possible, and we are so grateful to each person and organisation who chose to celebrate 5 years of Quality Education with us.
March 19th, 2012
March 7th, 2012
Atma is excited to announce our three very first case studies.
These case studies provide an in-depth illustration of Atma’s intervention with specific Atma Partners, the outcomes from that intervention and the impact on both the organisation and on specific beneficiaries. We will be posting new case studies on a bi-monthly basis.
Check out our new Case Studies here!
March 5th, 2012
Our previous tagline was “Partners in Educational Development.” We wanted to create a new tagline that would truly embody Atma’s true vision and mission as a nonprofit organisation.
Thanks to each and every person who voted to help us decide on Atma’s new tagline. We appreciate your input and are excited to announce the winner of our poll!
Strengthening organisations to impact Education.
February 13th, 2012
Atma has been thrilled to welcome two members from our Dutch Chapter, Martine and Nathalie, to visit Atma’s projects in Mumbai.
Atma has several international chapters across the globe: in Australia, the Netherlands, Canada. Atma Netherlands is the largest international chapter and has been heavily involved in Atma’s work since our founding in 2007.
Atma Netherlands has previously conducted fundraisers and events to raise awareness about Atma’s work in Mumbai and to generate donations. Dutch Board members visit Mumbai regularly to witness and engage in Atma’s work with our partners. This February, Atma (Mumbai) has the privilege of hosting Martine and Nathalie. They had this to say about their visit so far:
“It is great to finally be in India, and so much fun to be in the chaotic and colourful city-life of Mumbai. And it is even better to be part of the Atma experience for a week! During this week packed with meetings, site visits and time with the team, we got the chance to catch experience Atma’s impact on Atma Partners.
One of the Atma Partners we visited was Masoom. Nikita Ketkar, the founder of Masoom took us to one of the Masoom night schools. It was inspiring to see the dedication of each night school student. During this visit, Masoom was called “the heart and soul of the night school” by the school’s headmaster for all that they add to his school. Masoom told us that Atma’s support has been crucial in the growth and expansion of their organisation.
Being in India and witnessing the projects Atma is working with makes us thankful and proud: thankful to be part of the Atma family, and proud to see the impact Atma is making.Going back to the Netherlands, we will be even more motivated to support the Mumbai team in the work they do.”
What’s coming up for Atma Netherlands? The Atma Dutch chapter is very busy organising their biggest funding event the Atma Challenge. The 2012 Atma Challenge will bring together 30 people to climb the Mera Peak in Nepal, a mountain of approx. 6500m. The participants will young professionals between the age of 25 and 30. The Atma Challenge is off to a great start with 100 people attending the 2 information sessions held last week.
By March 15, the group of 30 that will take on the challenge will be selected. Between March and October, the team will go through a preparation phase will take place including physical training, team building and fundraising. The Challenge team targets to raise a total of EUR 60,000 for Atma.
The expedition will take place in Oct-Nov 2012 and will take 3 weeks. After the mountain climb, the group hopes to visit Atma in Mumbai to witness the impact of their efforts.
Atma is so honoured to have the Dutch Chapter so engaged and committed to supporting Atma’s work in Mumbai. To learn more about the Atma Challenge, visit www.atmachallenge.org or write to firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned for stories and photos to come!
January 26th, 2012
Apne Aap Women’s Collective (AAWC) was founded in 1998 to bring empowerment, education and opportunity to a very isolated and under-served section of society: women in brothel-based prostitution and their children. Atma is excited to announce that AAWC has become an Atma Partner.
Atma’s staff are very excited to be working with Apne Aap Women’s Collective and addressing the very complex world which keeps women and their daughters trapped in a cycle of slavery. AAWC runs three unique programs in Mumbai’s red-light districts, all of which support the holistic education and development of women who are prostitutes and their daughters.
Umeed is a program which serves the needs of women working in prostitution in the Grant Road area. Through Umeed, AAWC provides psycho-social counseling, vocational training and literacy workshops, and support in gaining essential documents like ration and pan cards. Umeed also provides financial planning assistance, health support and fun recreational outings to the women, creating a real sense of community and security.
Udaan supports the daughters of women in the red light area through education and opportunities to develop a future outside the brothel. They offer resources to help girls aged 6-18 pursue their education through enrollment support, after school tutorials, assistance towards pursuing higher education, and counseling and mentorship along the way.
Umang is a program that nurtures children from 2.5 – 5 years old, by providing a safe and healthy environment. Umang introduces children to education through preparatory classes and supports their health and nutrition needs to give them the best possible start.
Atma is excited about working with such a detail-oriented organisation because AAWC is also building capacity and creating education at a very personal and individual level: in the lives of women and girls. Their mission of providing education, tools, resources and a supportive platform to women and girls falls directly in line with Atma’s vision of Quality Education.
Through the Atma Partnerships Program, AAWC will be working to further strengthen their organisation. Atma is currently engaging in an audit process of the monitoring and evaluation processes used by AAWC, with plans to build a comprehensive management information system. Later in the year, we will be examining further expansion of AAWC programs.
AAWC have big plans for their programs and for future growth. The Atma Model is designed to support organisation like AAWC to create and implement the systems and programs that will allow their organisation to grow and expand sustainably. Atma looks forward to learning and growing with AAWC through our Atma Partnership.
Atma is excited to announce the arrival of our 2010-2011 Annual Report!
Atma Annual Report 2010-2011
Our Annual Report is a broad overview of Atma’s activities and growth over the past financial year. It includes Atma Partnership updates, reports on Partner beneficiaries, and a special focus on Atma volunteers. Atma’s annual income and expenditure statements are also featured in an effort towards full transparency and disclosure.
Atma is grateful to everyone who made 2010-2011 a fantastic year for Atma and our vision of Quality Education for all children. We look forward to completing another impactful year.