Updated: Oct 11, 2020
By Gulshan Singh
The haves and have-nots of this millennium are defined by the digital divide. Some 15% of U.S. households with school-age children do not have a high-speed internet connection at home. Their kids have been at a disadvantage their entire schooling lives due to a ‘homework gap.’
This gap has become a cliff in the COVID era with at-home learning requiring access to this vital service.
Hindu Charities of America (HC4A) has been providing school supplies to children of low-income families for over a decade. These times created a great churn in the organization to discern what these kids really needed.
Based on reports from Schoolhouse Needs and a ground level assessment of the school districts they served, the answer was clear: internet connectivity would ensure continued success of underserved kids.
HC4A is offering internet services for the academic year to over 200 families whose children are attending schools in Manor ISD. Manor ISD will distribute the donated MiFi devices to the families and provide the needed technical support.
Fundraising for charities this year has been hard, but it also brought out the generosity of local communities.
HC4A’s annual event for raising funds for school supplies, Bollywood Meets Borscht Belt, a joint HC4A and Jewish community fundraiser, was cancelled. They moved to their online platforms to plea for funds and were overwhelmed by the show of kindness by small and big donors.
“In this time of the pandemic, when learning from home has become a reality, a strong WiFi signal is even more important. Yet we know many students don’t have access. So it is with full hearts that the Manor Schoolhouse Foundation thanks the Hindu Charities for America for donating over $18,000 that will go directly to the purchase of hotspots for almost 200 students (families) in the Manor public schools,” said Manor Schoolhouse Foundation Director Becky Lott.
HC4A is moving on next to organize a virtual Gala this fall to raise funds for scholarships. These are given to low-income youth who take up vocational training courses to increase their employability and income. In this year especially, the number of students opting for an associate degree or vocational certification courses has increased as many are reconsidering a four-year undergraduate plan.
Hindu Charities for America is recruiting for volunteers who can step up in hard times and join committees that work towards meaningful action. They serve the homeless and low-income families of Austin and other major cities. You can connect with Hindu Charities for America at firstname.lastname@example.org.