Lending Rural Indian Schools a Helping Hand

eBay Inc. Staff

The Chennai GIVE Team helps bridge the resource gap for schools in impoverished rural villages.

Sekhar Vc has been with eBay Inc. since 2010, based in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state in India. A member of eBay Foundation’s Chennai GIVE Team, Sekhar recommended the Society for the Development of Economically Weaker Sections (SODEWS) for a grant at the end of last year and the organization was awarded $10,000 to hire math and English teachers in four rural schools. These schools are in villages about 125 miles from the PayPal office in Chennai, and illustrate the wide gap in resources between urban areas and small villages.

The state of education in rural Tamil Nadu is bleak – school buildings are dilapidated, water and sanitation facilities are inadequate, and the student-to-teacher ratio is dismal. SODEWS is working to improve poor educational standards in rural schools by collaborating with the government and social investors like eBay Foundation.

“We have renewed faith in our ability to continue our work thanks to the enthusiasm shown by Sekhar, his team and eBay,” said K.S. Ramamurthy, president of SODEWS.

We asked Sekhar, a software development manager, to share his thoughts about being a member of the Chennai GIVE Team and his work with SODEWS.

Why did you join the Chennai GIVE Team?  

I wanted to volunteer and get involved in giving back to society. Beyond that, I also wanted to inspire my colleagues to give back as a part of our social responsibility. The GIVE Team program is the apt avenue for doing this.

How did you get involved with SODEWS? 

I was interested in the education and welfare of children and helping the next generation. I met the SODEWS president at a convention of NGOs in Chennai, where he shared the work of the organization with me and explained how they are addressing educational deficiencies. I realized that the GIVE Team program and the SODEWS organization could be a great platform to connect PayPal with the uplifting of children.

Tell us about the employee volunteer event with SODEWS.

Thirteen very enthusiastic employees spent a day at two schools during the Joy of Giving Week, a national weeklong celebration honoring Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday [Oct. 2]. Employees brought stationery, sporting goods and puzzles for the children and teachers. They spent time doing art projects, dancing, solving puzzles and having lunch together. It was educational and fun for both the children and our employees. It was a memorable event for me.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of your relationship with SODEWS and the education program?

The sense of contentment was a reward for me. I was very happy when I was with the children witnessing the difference we had made and I had a great sense of accomplishment. We are instrumental in improving the quality of lives of the children in these villages.

What would you say to people who are considering getting more involved in their community?

As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” So let’s give!