Eva Kernova to talk about the steps her charity is making for kids in Dhaka
Home-grown charity Choice to Change (C2C) is now in its fourth year of operation. Caitlyn Davey meets founder Eva Kernova to talk about the steps the charity is making towards educating the kids of Dhaka.
Choice to Change (C2C) provides schooling for disadvantaged children in Bangladesh. Eva Kernova, an Etihad Airways employee based in the UAE, founded the charity when she saw appalling conditions in Dhaka. The charity operates purely through donations and provides nearly 150 children with food, clothing and education.
When we spoke to you in August 2013, you had 128 students and ten members of staff. How have things grown since? We are extremely happy that we made progress as a team. Our total number of students is currently 145 and we now have 19 full-time staff. This year we employed a social worker who is fully responsible for daily communication with the families of our students in the slum. In autumn 2013, we employed two new staff members at the office, and this has been very helpful in improving our daily operation in Dhaka. Also, our new headmaster is completely responsible for the quality of the performance of our teachers as well as the education we provide for our students. From 2014, we have changed our curriculum from Bangla to English.
The goal is to raise Dhs70,000 by June 18. Why this date? As we are fully dependent on the generosity of our donors we have to come up with different fundraising campaigns. This is our very first initiative that allows us to receive online donations thanks to our partnership with the Celebration of Life Foundation. We have decided to try this campaign for three months as it is easier to promote and evaluate our progress. At the moment, we are financially covered until the end of June 2014 and I hope that we will be able to cover another two months from this campaign.
Can you tell us a bit about the sports day you recently held in Dhaka? It was a wonderful day – a chance to all be together for the first time. The total cost was Dhs2,500 (which was given as a personal donation from C2C’s friends Leah and Zuzka) for the day, which covered all expenses including two buses, lunch for 160 people and the venue, which was located 30km from Dhaka city in beautiful surroundings. Here our kids could safely and freely enjoy their sports activities.
What goods are you often most in need of? We never say no to powdered milk as this is expensive in Bangladesh – also stationery, paper, glue, stickers, creative material for crafts, second-hand clothes, blankets, toiletries. All of these types of donations help to lower our monthly costs.
What’s next on the Choice to Change agenda? We have been operating from two locations so by combining two schools into one location in June 2014 we will be able to run more efficiently on a daily basis. Based on this fact, we have to cover the transport of our students, which will raise our monthly costs. We are looking for extra donations totalling Dhs55,000 to purchase our very first van, which will eventually help us not only in terms of transporting our students, but also in making profit on a monthly basis by renting it out during non-school hours.
The Citizen’s Foundation TCF is now one of Pakistan’s leading organisations in the field of formal education and has established 1,000 purpose-built school units across Pakistan. It also keenly encourages female enrolment at schools. www.thecitizensfoundation.org (050 708 4724).
Dubai Cares This charity was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It delivers access to education to children 31 developing countries. www.dubaicares.ae (04 450 4550).
The Dhaka Project Working with Dhaka’s slum children, this charity provides food, education and healthcare to Dhaka’s poor and vulnerable. www.thedhakaproject.org (050 418 3270).