Education as a crowdfunding category is among the more popular categories that people are raising funds for online, after healthcare. An increasing number of students are availing the debt-free financial support they need from their families and communities by means of online fundraising. People have also been starting and running fundraisers for friends, family members and even for children of colleagues and acquaintances.
India-based Milaap alone has had nearly 18,500 fundraisers for education so far. These fundraisers have collectively raised over INR 21 crore. In fact, the number of fundraising appeals for education have gone up by about 7.5 times over the past 2 years.
For example, Sai Venkatesh, a promising young CA aspirant was unable to afford his coaching and tuition expenses. His father, being physically disabled, and self-employed at a watch repair shop, was unable to fund his education completely. An online fundraiser was started for him by his father’s friend Mr. Narsing Rao. His fundraiser on Milaap picked up quickly and gained 6.4K shares on Facebook. He is now only a few steps away from his goal, and is also continuing his education.
The objective is to provide financial assistance to students who desire to pursue higher education but may not have adequate resources to do so. Students studying in India and abroad have been availing the ease of online crowdfunding to pursue their aspirations. The student community, being dominated by digital natives is also efficiently utilizing social media to reach out to the right audiences, giving their fundraisers the desired visibility and support. Students now are not even geographically restricted.
Ayush, another brilliant student aspired higher education abroad at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although Ayush had a scholarship from the university for his tuition fees, he lacked the means to travel abroad or to stay in a foreign country. His father is a simple mechanic, and despite being a deserving candidate, Ayush’s aspirations threatened to shatter in the face of his limitations. An online fundraiser was set up by Avanti Centre of Learning, where Ayush was undergoing coaching. The campaign has successfully managed to collect INR 4,38,000 of the target amount of INR 5,00,000.
In fact, we have also seen several instances of teachers raising funds to give their students access to better infrastructure, opportunities, and facilities that could help them learn better. A number of fundraisers have been started: to build classrooms, provide students with books and stationery, install computers and provide digital access, or even to save rural schools from shutting down. Teach for India fellows too, often raise funds on Milaap to provide their students with better resources, equip rural schools with smart classes and in general, to make education more available to more children, especially in rural areas.
With increased digital access today, people from even the remotest parts of the country have access to information and knowledge of better educational opportunities. The only thing that stands between these incredibly talented students and their dreams is a financial constraint. Online crowdfunding could be a promising solution to this problem.