NGO Insights: Prabhat Educational Foundation

Dated : 20 Dec 2013
  1. Sector and Positioning:

The urge to support special children challenged by stigma, ignorance and denial and to nurture them into mainstream education led to foundation of Prabhat Education Foundation in 2003. The priority has been ‘Right to Education’ since inception. The foundation serves special children from underprivileged families (including migrants) through three centres in remote areas of Ahmedabad.

Prabhat has introduced Jeevan Taleem life skill programmes in two of its centres to provide medical services such as therapy, counselling, and supply aids (callipers and wheelchairs). Therapy sessions include clay and art therapy, extra-curricular activities, speech therapy, regular counselling etc. organized under the guidance of experts. Classroom learnings imparted by Prabhat include trips, summer camps and vocational training suitable to the needs of special children. Children challenged with a range of disabilities are also provided with therapy and teaching aids to develop their sensory organs. Every educator at Prabhat enriches the teaching with personal commitment and experience. A recent milestone achieved by Prabhat includes entry of special children into mainstream schools.

Sensitizing families and neighbourhoods towards accepting and supporting the children through Community Based Services (CBR) is another approach of Prabhat. Awareness is created through medium of storytelling, street plays, and rallies. Special children unable to access the centres on account of mobility or distance are provided with Home based Schooling –providing therapies and educational aids at their respective homes.

Prabhat associate with various mainstream schools in Ahmedabad. Through its advocacy approach, Prabhat strives to build a platform to bridge the gap between children from mainstream schools and differently abled children. It encourages special children towards confident and productive adulthood. Prabhat has witnessed increase in number of school and college students interested in working as interns.

  1. Financial Parameters:
  • Individual Donations: Individuals contributed 48% (Rs1.3mn) of total income. Though the proportion of donations has declined from 83% in FY11 to 48% in FY13, the decline is on account of increase in total income from Rs1.2mn in FY11 to Rs2.7mn in FY13. In absolute terms, the donations have continued to be in same range (Rs.1.2mn in FY12 to Rs1.3mn in FY13) (Ref Fig.1&2). A small proportion of funds received from Non-Government Funding Agencies are also clubbed under individual donations.
  • Beneficiary Fees: Beneficiary fees contributed 18% of total income in FY13. Of the total 120 special children attending the centres, around 20 children belong to well to do families. The contributions made by them are included in beneficiary fees.
  • Other Sources: Non-government Funding Agencies (NGFA) contributed 18% of total income followed by Corporate Sources (11%) and others (4%) in FY13. (Ref Fig.2). Anugraha Trust for Handicapped, an NGO in same sector and income range as Prabhat, obtains 80% of its funds from Government. Prabhat on the other hand has no Government support but has managed to source funds from individuals and funding agencies such as Sir Ratan Tata Trust (SRTT), Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust (NRTT), Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation and St. Xavier’s College and Centre for Environment Education.
  • Total Expenses: Expenses totalled to Rs2.2mn in FY13 recording 12% drop from FY11 (Rs2.5mn). Programme Expenses (Rs1.5mn) accounted for 70% of total expenses and are in line with the expenses incurred by other NGOs in the sector (65% to 71%). The launch of Community Based Services (CBR) programme in FY12 led to jump in total programme cost in FY12 to Rs 1.7mn and stabilised at Rs1.5mn in FY13.
  • Overheads: Overheads (Rs0.6mn) account for 30% of total expenses as against the sector average of 17%. Overheads include a large chunk of expenses incurred on rent of premises used for running the three centres.
  • Programme Salaries: Salaries accounted for 56% of total expenses in FY13 as against 30% in FY12.The jump in salaries in FY13 is on account of remuneration to the trustees which accounted for 11% of total expenses (Rs0.24mn). Though the salaries are higher than the sector average of 48%, they are lower than the staff cost incurred by Anugraha Trust for Handicapped (87%) (Ref Fig.3). Note that well trained staff is required for the care of special children which leads to higher staff costs.
  • Cash/Bank and Investments: Cash and Bank has increased to Rs1.1mn in FY13 from Rs0.2mn in FY12. This can be attributed to excess donations deposited in Bank. Together, investments and cash and bank balance accounts for 80% of total assets.
  • Loan Funds: Loan funds accounted for 64% (Rs1.7mn) of total liabilities. Funds borrowed from members constitute 60% (Rs1mn) of the loan funds.
  • Cost per Beneficiary: Prabhat attends to around 120 special children through its centres and incurs cost of approximately Rs20,000 per year for nurturing a special child.   

 

  1. Sustainability Parameters:
  • Total income/ Income Growth: Prabhat posted total income of Rs2.72mn in FY13 as against Rs2.70mn in FY12, registering marginal growth of 0.7%.
  • Self-sufficiency ratio: Self-sufficiency ratio measures the ability of an organization to meet expenses out of its own funds and is quite high in case of Prabhat at 87% in FY13. Note that more than 71% of the total income is generated by Prabhat through individual donations, beneficiary fees and other income.
  • Accommodative Borrowing: The ratio measures proportion of unsecured loans borrowed from members and others to total funds. Prabhat has borrowed funds from its members to the tune of Rs1mn comprising 38% of total funds.

 

  1. Major Challenges:
  • Shortage of Human Resources: Prabhat faces a shortage of qualified therapists, specialists and counsellors to attend to the differently abled and their families and resources for administration work due to financial crunch. 
  • Space constraint: The Trust operates out of rented premises. Huge rentals paid to accommodate increasing number of children are a major challenge. Though seeking a permanent home is an objective of Prabhat, it is looking for financial support for rented premises as an immediate requirement.
  • Inadequate donations in kind: Ensuring regular supply of learning and play materials for development of children, basic furniture for safety of the children and other materials for making simple products is a challenge. Prabhat needs contributions in the form of books, educational toys, posters, used computers etc.
  • Lack of support from community: Differently abled children are usually considered as a social stigma even within the community and are not allowed in mainstream schools. Fighting against the old beliefs, practices and attitudes of the marginalized communities has been a challenge for Prabhat.

 

  1. Governance & Reporting Standards:

Mr Chatterjee, founder director of Prabhat Education Trust is associated with Eklavya Education Foundation as an educator and visiting faculty at Riverside School and Anand Niketan. He also works as trainer and resource person with schools and organizations working for deprived communities.

 

The Board constitutes personnel with a background in education, sports and social work and meets twice a year or as and when required. Prabhat’s work has been published by leading newspapers such as Times of India, Divya Bhaskar, DNA City, and Ahmedabad Mirror. Prabhat is listed with Give India.

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