Frequently asked questions
What percentage of my contribution goes to the cause?
100% of every sponsorship goes directly to this great cause. All administrative costs are covered by our parent organization.
Are my contributions tax deductible?
You will need to consult a tax professional for your unique situation. However, our parent organization is a 501c3 organization registered in the USA.
Can your organization access my Credit Card information?
No. As these transactions are secure through PayPal, we do not have any access to your credit card information.
How do I make monetary contribution?
Please click the "Participate" link in the top navigation bar. Then scroll down to the section "Sponsor and Support". Here you will see 3 sections with a "Participate” button. This will take you to the PayPal website. Here you can make a secure one- time contribution or a recurring monthly one.
Can I visit the schools
Absolutely. Infact we encourage you to visit them so you have a first-hand experience of the tremendous impact you are having with your support. Please write to us using the "Contact" link in this website, if you would like to arrange a visit.
What are the ways I can help in this cause?
You can help in many ways. First, you can become a champion of the cause and share the information with those you know at home, at school, at work or through your social network; you can volunteer directly with our efforts and can become a member of our team; you can also participate financially in a number of ways by sponsoring a child or by supporting the construction effort. Please click on the "Participate" link in the top navigation for more details.
Can I directly communicate with the sponsored child?
The security and privacy of each child is very important and protected and their dignity insured. Accordingly, we do not assign a sponsor to a specific. However, sponsors can certainly visit the school and interact with children along with the teachers.. By subscribing to the newsletter you get updates about each of the schools.
How does the sponsoring of a child work?
At present we have identified schools operated by Prashanthi Bala Mandir Trust in India. These schools have very high standards of a value based education in all facets of a child’s education. These schools are operated by dedicated teachers and staff who insure that the cost of tuition and boarding is very economical. At present the estimated cost of tuition is $300/year or $25 per month and the additional cost for a student receiving the Madiyal Narayana Bhat scholarship which provides all necessities is $540/year, $45/month for a total of $840/year or $70 month. The selection committee does a very thorough job of selecting the students based on merit, economic background, child's interest etc. We help in their cause by partnering with them to help cover the tuition and other expenses for children.
Will you support other schools in future?
Yes. At present we are focusing on the Tumkur Campus (boy’s school) and the Doddaballapura Campus (girl’s school). As mentioned, we also support all of the other campuses and will broaden our focus as our team and resources grow. We envision also supporting similar schools in Africa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia and in other parts of the world
How can I know more about these schools?
The best way is to visit these schools in person. You can also visit the website, pbmt.org. You can also view the pictures of these schools on the "Initiatives" page on this website and then click on the specific picture to be directed to their individual website.
What is Education for All?
We believe that education should be provided to all, let alone cast, creed, gender or geography, and it should not be based on socio economic status. Education here does not mean academic excellence, but an overall personality development which even affluent schools today are not providing to their affluent pupils. Growth is therefore lopsided, catering to the head alone (intelligence), and not to the heart (emotional and spiritual) and hands (practical and skill based) creating an imbalance in the society, with much larger cultural and social repercussions.
So when we say ‘ALL’, it is to encompass ALL, irrespective of the socio economic status. While we would like to reach out to the most under served, who cannot pay a fee, it’s also true that the affluent who can afford education are also poorly educated, and hence need as much attention. The balance of mix of students from lower socio economic strata and that of families who can provide, is a strategy to ensure that the affluent students are sensitised to the needy sections of the society, and are motivated to curb their desires and channel their energies to help the lesser privileged, upon completion of their education . Future doctors, scientists, engineers, technicians, teachers or bureaucrats, will work towards the overall welfare of the society as they have been sensitised to the need.
At the same time, students from impoverished backgrounds will get a hand holding, and learn better habits from the students who come from more cultured and refined backgrounds and better academic inputs.
Unfortunately, in most places the two don’t meet either on playground or in the future professional world as well, which creates an imbalanced society, totally blinded to each other’s needs and sensitivities. This give and take will ensure a more balanced society in future too. Therefore, the best phrase to define our vision is ‘Education for All’ though the only improvisation could be ‘Right Education for All’, but then it will need a whole lot of explanation.
Free education for all does not mean urban kids, or well-to-do kids also get it free?
Education is not perceived as a commodity sold elsewhere, but given free in this institution. Also, making one feel that free means that which is meant for the impoverished and those who cannot afford, will be a misnomer. Rather, our belief that every child has the right to education, whether he can pay for it or not, is the foundation of the philosophy of education, similar to the ancient Gurukula system. This alone creates gratitude in them which pays off in their later days as service to society.
Importance and criteria for selection in the Sathya Sai Institutions, is for the underprivileged/needy strata of society. Roughly of the students are from impoverished backgrounds. There is a minimal boarding and lodging charges to create a sense of responsibility in parents, roughly Rs 35,000 per year (USD 1.3 per day) but this is waived off for those who cannot afford to pay even that, after a thorough due diligence.
The most important aspect of what we do in our campuses apart from academic inputs and training in life skills…is to SENSITISE the students to their larger role in the society - Social responsibility, which is nothing but extending service, arising out of love and compassion. Thus, students become more sensitive to the needs of those in pain.
What is Values based education?
Education should encompass all aspects of the human personality, creating an integrated personality. Holistic and transformational education, which nurtures the root of all problems by developing the powers of ‘Head’, ‘Heart’ and ‘Hands’ in every individual, to his/her fullest potential, is positive in its approach and sustainable in its outcome. A fully blossomed child develops into an integrated personality, and will have a brilliant head, a loving and compassionate heart and competent hands.
SAI education philosophy is:
S- Social Responsibility - Hands - sensitising by involving them in real life examples to help and serve
A- Academic Excellence - Head - inputs and training in subjects and skills
I - Individual Character - Heart - emotional balance through a spiritual outlook and ability to make right choices with a long-term vision
The education system should hence be an education for life, and not just for a living - a harmonious synthesis of the eternal human values with humanities, commerce, science and technology - an integrated value-based education.
The Sathya Sai system of education does not exist to make someone better THAN anyone else....rather it exists to make the person better FOR everyone else. It is about nurturing and developing gratitude for the society which has taken care of them....thus, here the beneficiaries become benefactors! Hence, the vision is to have one Sathya Sai institution in every district of India, and later in every country of the world. Mainstreaming values-based education and aligning it to complement the many boards of education across the world is the way forward. For societal transformation can be built only on the bricks of individual transformation. Individuals who are capable of knowing what is right and what is wrong, and acting according to this knowledge, must be nurtured from a very young age, so their well-being could be improved and each individual could become a responsible citizen. Empowering and ennobling every individual in this way is the only way to improve society and bring peace and security to the world.
What is your focus and what happens during the education process every day?
We single-pointedly focus on creating and nurturing the idea of servant leadership (Serve to Lead) who are competent as well as compassionate. All aspects of the students’ lives on campus, therefore, is planned meticulously.
The focus every day is to help the children realise their true potential in all aspects –
Physical - yoga exercises and sports
Intellectual - practical discussions oriented facilitative learning
Social - community living and self-reliance initiatives
Environmental - natural settings and sensitivity to nature and environment
Emotional - sharing and caring for each other and surrounding villages through rural development programs
Spiritual - devotional and spiritual activities including prayers, meditation, awareness of inner self through guided coaching
All this leads to a well-balanced SAI personality
Why is girl child important?
In India, every sixth girl child’s death is due to gender discrimination. 53% of girls in the age group of 5 to 9 years are illiterate in India, in spite of the compulsory primary education by Govt.
Next year we are opening 5 girls’ campuses. As per the new draft education policy of India, focus is being shifted to girls’ access to education. In 2018 and 2019, we concentrated on boys campuses. Girl child is important because even today in rural India, girls are married off at 12/13 years to 40/45 year old men for money...or forced into child labour or are sucked into child trafficking. As per last year’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights report - around 40% of 15 to 18 year old girls were out of school, because of the burden of housework, and to substantiate family income.
How are the girls recruited into the campuses?
We work with Anganwadi(a type of rural child care centre in India) and social workers who visit home to home in the villages, educating parents about the importance of education, and more importantly why girls should also be educated.
How are you (PBMT Schools) funded? - how are you going to meet the huge demand?
The sustainability of the projects of charity undertaken by us comes from the people behind it. A set of them create infrastructure and another set funds the operations. While infra is large, it is mostly a onetime capital investment by a few, and the regular operating costs are met by larger numbers akin to crowd funding. That’s how it has been so far and with every passing year, more join in, as they get sensitised to the cause. E1E1 and Heart to Heart are examples (two separate organizations).
This apart, partnerships with like-minded institutions – Tata Trust, Rotary International, Government schemes, other NGOs, have helped share the requirements and we are forging more partnership even as we increase our base of individual contributors.
How will you scale?
There are two mindsets – business and charity, and both are different from each other. While largely business starts with need, but ends up with greed in terms of scaling and/or sustaining it through profitability, which largely depends on market cycles, etc. On the other hand, charity is a response to an unserved or underserved need and it’s sustainability and scalability largely depends on the commitment to serve the need alone.
While finances do play an important role, keeping all other variables equal, business also grows by participation from the market...consumers at large. And charity also depends on people – charitable people at large. If a consumer refuses the products, the business cannot sustain or scale. Likewise, if there are less charitable people than the need, then charity will also suffer a setback.