Comprehensive, Sustainable Programming
Integral to all of Shanta’s programming is capacity and leadership training that empower individuals and the communities we partner with to take on change themselves. Community programs require active participation and ample contributions from all villagers.
Shanta’s goal is to inspire a love of learning and empower younger generations by providing positive school experiences and enabling a comprehensive education to affect long-term change.
Scholarships for Higher Education
Village children rarely go beyond primary level because middle and high schools are far from their village and require boarding fees and other expenses. Families understand the importance of a good education but simply cannot afford the additional costs.
- Shanta supports village families by equally sharing these costs enabling 70% of children to attend middle and high school.
- Our Village Nurse-Midwife Program trains the first generation of community health leaders. After a 6-month course that includes clinical rotations, these women become healthcare providers for their communities, providing affordable antenatal care, contraception options, and general medical care.
- Volunteer Village Health Educators facilitate workshops for groups of young mothers on preparing for delivery, infant care, hygiene and nutrition.
- Families receive grants for medical needs from the village Development Fund, which is financed by the interest from each village’s Community Loan Fund.
Increasing Economic Opportunities
Integral to the sustainability of our work are Community Loan Funds that operates like a village-run bank, enabling villagers to borrow money at a reasonable interest rate. Established with a matching grant from Shanta, they promote new business growth and a vital environment for economic development.
- New, non-farming businesses, a rarity in rural villages, are often a woman’s first opportunity to earn independent money.
Each village allocates a portion of the interest earned from their Community Loan Fund to a Development Fund to finance various development activities. After six years, a Development Fund can provide over $5,000 per year for village improvement programs, becoming a sustainable source of funding for things like preschool teacher wages, school supplies, and middle and high school scholarships.
Designed to support self-sustaining family income, our model is similar to that of Heifer International – families share some the offspring of their animals with other families, creating a ripple effect in their community. Profit from a pig farm usually doubles the average family’s yearly income.
- Shanta works with villages to design and build new water systems that deliver clean water close to the village centers.
- Shanta partners with communities to provide solar lighting for each home with matching grants to purchase one solar panel, a 12-volt battery, wiring and florescent light bulbs to illuminate two rooms. This provides sustainable sources of light for families, allowing chores to be accomplished and school work finished.
"At least a third of all children are malnourished in this country and 132,000 children under five die every year because of avoidable diseases," says Andrew Kirkwood of Save the Children. "Aid to this country is about $3 per person per year which puts it among the lowest three countries in the world. I just think that''s inexcusable."
Hardest hit are the young. Less than 50 per cent of children will complete five years of education. They also suffer from a range of diseases including Aids and tuberculosis.