Husti.org – The Education Charity
Husti was brought to life in August 2014; its inception stemmed from a range of influences, in which NHSF (UK) played a strong part.
Priyam and I have been friends right from the very beginning, since our early days attending Priory Preparatory School in Banstead. It was here, through our exposure to various fundraising events, be it mufti days or bake sales, that we were instilled with the basic human principle of helping others less fortunate than ourselves. This developed further as we grew older and started to better understand life outside of our bubbles.
We moved away from mufti days in school towards charitable walks/runs (a real struggle considering our undisclosed BMIs). We visited poverty-stricken countries as volunteers, looking to make a difference, looking to have a real impact. It was by spending time in slums, orphanages and hospitals in India and Zambia that our eyes were opened to the in-field fight against poverty. The sheer scale of need was overwhelming.
We became leaders of our respective Hindu Societies (NHSF Chapter) and built the connections required to start a movement against indifference. Indifference was one reason (amongst others as I’m sure you are aware) which explained low turnouts and poor engagement. To start a movement, we had to start with ‘why?’ We applied this principle in our NHSF Chapters and it was through these experiences that we learnt that NHSF (UK) recognises that Hindu Students have the potential to change the outlook of society and use this principle to scale nationally.
It was inspiring to learn of the NHSF (UK) journey and its 25 years of history. Events such as Sewa Week, Dharma Fest, various sports competitions and Zonal Garba, highlighted the impact of the collaborative ethos that NHSF (UK) pragmatically harbours. Through such events, they are able to bring unity between students of the past, present and future.
In August 2014, Priyam and I launched Husti. It was born in response to the growing levels of inequality across India and a paucity of high quality interventions. With 1/3rd of global poverty concentrated in India, the scale of need was apparent.
Education is the greatest equaliser. The success of the Indian diaspora can, to some extent, be attributed to principles of hard work, courage and entrepreneurial spirit. The roots of generational success can often be localised in a strong sense of educational priority. Hindu Societies across the country are brimming with some of the smartest minds and sharpest tongues in the country. This is no coincidence.
Education is the greatest equaliser. We have a shared history of grandparents arriving from various African countries or India itself, living in dire conditions and suffering the consequences of institutional prejudice. From this, we inherit an indomitable drive and a deep appreciation of education.
In many pre-existing establishments, education is not of high enough quality to retain, inspire and motivate children. This is complicated by multiple layers of other issues such as hunger, finances, transport, all of which can act as barriers to attending school.
We strive to improve the quality of education that India’s poorest students receive. We conduct research and then design programmes that will improve each and every child’s individual holistic education, quality of life and employability.
The first year of Husti proved to be harder than anticipated, but through the support of friends and families and NHSF Chapters, we were able to grow and make our voice heard. We were fortunate enough to be invited to events, such as the ‘VKPA Dinner and Dance,’ the ‘Maharaja Ball,’ and ‘Sutton High Schools Charity Week’. We were very grateful to win a few awards on the way!
These events greatly aided our online presence and contributed financially towards our projects. Together with Priory School, we were able to put together their first Bollywood Night, a night that was filled with great success and one that strengthened the partnership with the school. Along with this, we have held multiple other Curry Nights and Handbag Sales.
We acquired the support of 10 high street stores, which were willing to place our collection boxes near their counters. One of our boxes was briefly seen on the TV show ‘The Boy In the Dress’ on BBC1!
February 2015, Husti had turned 6 months old and we launched the ‘elephoto,’campaign where we asked everyone to photograph our Husti elephant, donate £1 and pass it on. The campaign raised £500, and all was used to fund the Tukni Ki Shaadi The Child Marriage Educational Video (in production).
Momentum was picking up and it brought us to the milestone we had been working tirelessly for; we were able to apply to become a registered charity with the UK Charity Commission. After months, of what had felt like endless paperwork and exchange of emails, on the 14th January 2016, Husti became a registered charity (1165161). For us, this meant the beginning of another exciting chapter of Husti.
We have also supported a number of projects through working with local in-field partners (Protasahan and Don Bosco) to maximise our impact in the field;
Our Mission Statement;
‘Husti is a charity working to relieve poverty in India by funding and developing high impact local projects to empower the poorest.’
Looking ahead towards the end of 2016, into 2017 and beyond, we have decided to tackle a larger project, one that we’re rather excited about, namely the ‘Sathod School Development Project.’
This project will take up to 2 years to complete, but will effect 150+ children.
By way of a brief background, the school was established in 1966 and for 33 years it has struggled to provide even the most basic education facilities for its 100+ students. In 1999, Mr. Sanjay Brambhut was chosen as the Principal and inherited a school lacking in all basic tenets of an effective education. There were no tables, chairs or textbooks. No extracurricular classes, no library or predictable lighting; facilities that we in the western-world take for granted and almost have an expectation to be provided within school.
Once basic infrastructural needs are met, our aim here is to introduce English and computing classes as extra-curricular academic activities. Non-academic extracurricular activities will, of course, include cricket by renovation of the playing fields, which are currently unsafe and unsanitary. Classrooms will also be refurbished and re-equipped with modern facilities in order to inspire and encourage the children to continue onwards to university, as well as maximise their chances of doing so.
More information of this project and how we intend to fundraise (including a trek to the Himalayas!) can be found on our website;
This is an exciting time for Husti, and I cannot stress how grateful we are to all those who have taken the time to listen to our vision and have actively got involved with generous donations and voluntary work; in particular, NHSF QMUL, KCL and Kent.
Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to know more about getting involved / joining the team.
Together we can change the world.
Together we can empower lives.
Together we can get that person on the street back on their own two feet.
– Author: Nirav Patel
Co-Founder Husti.org | firstname.lastname@example.org