Under this initiative, mangoes bought from farmers in Devgad and Vengurla towns in Sindhudurg district are sold by these students, and the income is used to fund their education.
Written by Seona James
An NGO in Mumbai has started an initiative called ‘Mangoes For Education’ to procure funds for the education of students from Class IX to post-graduation. Under this initiative, mangoes bought from farmers in Devgad and Vengurla towns in Sindhudurg district are sold by these students, and the income is used to fund their education.
PrasadRaje Sneha Bhopale, president of the NGO Bridge to Circular Economy (BCE) Foundation, said he lost his source of income due to the pandemic, and he had to figure out how to pay for his educational expenses. He soon realised that many of his friends and other students faced similar concerns, and that is when he came up with this initiative. So far, over 119 individuals from Kolhapur are part of the project and the foundation has a membership of over 500 students from six districts in Maharashtra.
Due to the increase in Covid-19 cases and the subsequent restrictions, the drive ran for only 10 days. But within that time, 200 boxes of mangoes were sold by the students with the help of social media, and they earned Rs 2 lakh. As the initiative progressed, the foundation decided to include an environment-friendly aspect to the project. “We decided to plant one tree per box sold and apart from that, plant one tree per student,” said Bhopale.
The plantation drive is set to begin on June 5 and will be conducted in five phases. Within five to six days, all the saplings will be planted. The drive will take place on a private plot in Kolhapur and the saplings will be looked after with the assistance of the plot owner, who will be making arrangements for drip irrigation.
Talking about the difficulties faced by the project, Nikhil More, organiser of ‘Mangoes For Education’, said that it was tough to convince customers about the authenticity and the genuineness of the project, and to assure them that the initiative was for a good cause.
Afnan Javed, a trustee of the foundation, said reaching out to students and getting them on board also posed some challenges.
“We have learnt a lot from this initiative. Next time, we will be back with more experience and will continue working for education and for the environment,” said More.
“Now, I have come to believe that nothing is impossible… If you have a good team, I think you will have any result you wish for,” added Javed.
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“The drive ran for only 10 days due to the pandemic situation… We have learnt some lessons from it… we hope we can work for three months next summer and our revenue will definitely cross Rs 50-70 lakh,” said Bhopale.
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