Monday, September 25, 2023

India and Beyond: RYTHM Foundation Redefines Education for Disadvantaged Communities


In today’s rapidly changing world, education is a powerful catalyst that holds the key to uplifting disadvantaged communities. Beyond the walls of classrooms, it has the potential to revolutionise lives, break the chains of intergenerational poverty, and pave the way for a more equitable society.

RYTHM Foundation’s education initiatives in India are a shining testament to the organisation’s unwavering commitment to empowering the underprivileged.

At the heart of these initiatives lies a profound understanding of the transformative power of education in uplifting disadvantaged communities and catalysing positive change. RYTHM is the CSR arm of the international wellness and lifestyle-focused direct-selling company, QNET.

The Foundation has likewise left an indelible mark across the globe through its transformative educational efforts, spreading its impact in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Nepal and even reaching as far as Ghana – fostering personal development, gender equity, and social inclusion.

The initiatives encompass a school for the differently-abled (Malaysia), sports-based education programmes (Malaysia, Indonesia, and Ghana), and expanded learning opportunities for remote and indigenous communities (Malaysia and Nepal), among others.

“While not focusing solely on traditional academics, the Foundation has recognised that education, in its broader sense, can serve as a potent tool for uplifting disadvantaged individuals and fostering lasting change,” says the Head of RYTHM Foundation, Santhi Periasamy.

RYTHM’s approach to education also often centres around providing practical knowledge and training that directly addresses the needs and challenges faced by underserved communities. By identifying the specific skills required for personal and economic development, the foundation seeks to equip individuals with the tools they need to create a better future for themselves and their families.

One such initiative is the Maharashtra-based Mann Deshi Foundation’s ‘Champions Youth Development programme, which RYTHM supported between 2019 and 2022. This remarkable project seamlessly blends education, skills development, women empowerment, and sports elements, bringing forth a holistic approach to youth growth and enablement.

In a region where women and girls find themselves entangled in enduring cycles of inequality, patriarchy, and poverty, RYTHM supported the establishment of five Mann Deshi Champions Centres in rural Mhaswad, Dahiwadi, Atpadi, Aundh, and Dighanchi to provide them with comprehensive education, skill-building opportunities, and resources to break free from the chains of disparity.

The programme sparked a profound transformation by providing 842 girls with tangible future opportunities. It also fostered their sports abilities and prepared them for careers in law enforcement. As a result, 30 women secured employment in law enforcement, breaking gender barriers and solidifying their path toward financial independence while breaking gender barriers in the field.

More recently, RYTHM joined forces with the NGO Plan India to launch the groundbreaking ‘Safer Cities for Girls’ project in the Gautampuri resettlement colony in South Delhi.

With a population of 38,000, including a youth demographic of 3,000 children and young adults aged between 10 and 25, the programme provides designated safe spaces for young women and girls to move freely without fearing harassment or violence.

The collaboration goes beyond physical safety, emphasising the importance of education in a broader sense. It has empowered beneficiaries with a comprehensive platform to address safety concerns, fostering open discussions and finding solutions. Participants also gain essential self-defence and assertiveness skills to respond confidently and effectively to violence.

The ambitious ongoing project is dedicated to enriching the lives of over 4,000 children and adults within the colony. Its profound impact is poised to extend far beyond, positively transforming the lives of more than 12,000 people in the long run.

In another notable initiative in 2019, 42 students from disadvantaged families at the Isha Vidhya School in Tamil Nadu were awarded education scholarships. The students received comprehensive support from this scholarship programme, including tuition, books, and health supplements.

This initiative represented one of RYTHM’s direct education support efforts to uplift the underprivileged and foster a brighter future for deserving students in India.

As the world continues to progress rapidly into the digital age, the importance of education cannot be overstated. RYTHM is actively shaping the future of education through other innovative and transformative initiatives.

One such upcoming effort aims to tackle the pressing issue of foundational literacy and numeracy among children in North Bengal’s underprivileged rural communities. The region has long struggled with high illiteracy rates, making this partnership even more vital in its potential to bring about meaningful change.

RYTHM Foundation seeks to pave the way for a brighter and more equitable future for these deserving young minds through a meticulously planned intervention strategy, comprehensive data collection on literacy, and engaging teaching sessions.

“RYTHM’s initiatives in India – and veritably across the world – exemplify the organisation’s unwavering commitment to empowering the underprivileged through transformative education,” Santhi says.

“Beyond traditional academics, these projects adopt a holistic approach, equipping individuals with practical knowledge and essential skills to address underserved communities’ specific challenges,” she adds.

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