Freedom For You

Focus: Education, Health, Livelihoods, Disaster Management

ROOTING for the underdog is what this foundation does best – whether for daily wage earners, malnourished newborns or jobless young women, helping them secure ‘freedom’ from their disadvantage.

So for instance, a labourer whose struggle with feeding the family takes priority over educating her kids, Freedom For You’s playschool cum nursery in one of the slums of Navi Mumbai provide free education and mid-day meals for the children.

Plus, their embrace of the slum community extends to delivering health check-ups to over 5,000 minors annually.

Freedom4U is founded on the belief that a nation is made up of individuals. And, that those at the bottom of India’s social pyramid need support to strengthen the base of the country’s human capital.

All their programmes arise from this conviction. So when 12-year-old Shubhangi Jadhav, who lives with her grandmother in a nearby shanty came to their attention, they took her under their wing during the school holidays. A keen learner, Shubhangi joined their new skill development centre for spoken English and computer literacy classes instead of loitering on the streets like her peers.

Another beneficiary at the centre is Rina Ramel Chhavria, who moved to Mumbai from Haryana with her husband and two sons. Rina, 25, is unlettered, can only count up to 30 and earns Rs 3,000 per month as a safai karmachari (garbage collector).

Now, a regular at the basic tailoring class, Rina’s income-generating horizons have widened – and given her different work options for the future.

Another one of their interventions is strengthening the community’s response to a disaster, when the poor and needy are usually the worst affected.

While they have carried out a slew of training programmes for first aid and emergency rescue operations engaging 22,000 citizens, Freedom4U are in the process of setting up a First Responder Youth Brigade in Navi Mumbai. This project aims to empower 300 youngsters with life-saving techniques to enable them to act swiftly during a disaster.

CEO Ravi Kumar quotes Mahatma Gandhi as their inspiration to save lives. He says: “Gandhi said ‘saving a life is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can undergo in his/her lifetime.’ We pioneered the Safe School project in 2006 to sensitize children on the basics of disaster, how to save one’s own life and that of others.”

Support Freedom4U in their bid to save lives and free individuals from the disadvantage that holds them back.

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CURRENT PROJECTS
Play School

HOUSED in the slums of Rabale, Navi Mumbai, the playschool cum nursery accommodates toddlers of daily wage earners. To provide free education and mid-day meals for the 100 children expected to be enrolled this academic year beginning June 2016, Freedom4U will need Rs 4.15 lakhs. This will pay for an additional classroom and includes the cost of a set of school uniforms each and mid-day meals for 180 school days.

Human Milk Bank

BASED on their mission of saving lives, Freedom4U will be targeting pre-term, low birth weight and grossly underweight babies in their latest endeavour. In collaboration with a large hospital in Navi Mumbai, they are setting up a human milk bank – there are only 12 others in India. Both WHO and UNICEF have endorsed breast milk as a baby’s best protection from infections and malnutrition. While the hospital will bear the operating costs, the capital cost for Freedom4U is nearly Rs 10 lakh.

Skill Development Centres

AFTER identifying 20-odd sustainable skills that women and young girls can be taught to seek gainful employment, Freedom4U started the first of four centres planned in Navi Mumbai in March this year. Courses vary from computer literacy to artificial jewellery making, and are designed to help economically disadvantaged women out of their poverty trap. The annual operating cost per centre is Rs 3-4 lakh.

Testimonials

Came to know Freedom4U and their volunteers during the recent Chennai floods. Wanted to desperately help out in some way and I was able to accomplish that through them. I will continue to accomplish my social responsibility through this organisation.

Indira Srinivasan, Trichy

The session on CPR and fire-fighting/burns prevention has helped us improve the preparedness of associates towards personal safety. We look forward to interacting with Freedom4U in the future for training related to first aid and other safety aspects.

Avinash Ramakrishnan, Tata Consultancy Services, Vikroli, Mumbai

THE TEAM
  • Ramaswamy S Chairman & Trustee
  • Ravi S Kumar CEO & Managing Trustee
  • Sharmila Gaikwad Trustee