Lockdown blues: With funds drying up, NGOs feel the pinch

Sans donations, non-profit organisations forced to cut down on outreach activities or halt these completely

Lockdown blues: With funds drying up, NGOs feel the pinch

The Institute of Blind at Gol Bagh, one of the oldest institute of learning in North India for the visually impaired, too, has been facing fund crunch.

Neha Saini

Tribune news service

Amritsar, July 9

City NGOs are facing an acute financial crunch.

Reason: The lockdown and its aftereffects, which has taken a toll on the voluntary donations.

Many non-profit organisations engaged in the field of educating and providing for the underprivileged have been forced to either cut down on their outreach activities or completely halt these until funds are generated.

Continuing with kids’ education a concern for Missiondeep

Missiondeep, a non-profit organisation that has been providing free education and skill-based training to over 200 children from extremely social and economically backward families, has been forced to shut down its residential programme for the needy children.

“We had to send students back to their homes during the lockdown due to health and safety concerns. But, a majority of our students come from extremely disturbed and poor families, whose parents are either daily wagers or rag pickers or even substance addicts. Since this class of citizens has been the worst sufferers of the lockdown, our students call up saying that their families were not exactly happy to have them back as it puts additional burden on them. We are fostering six girls in our hostel, as they do not have any family or relatives. Another big concern is to continue with their education through online or digital medium since most of them do not even own a phone,” says Amrita, a teacher and mentor at Missiondeep.

With three facilities for boys and girls running in the city in Ranjit Avenue, Friends Avenue (near Khairabad) and Guru Ramdass Avenue, 90 per cent of Missiondeep’s funds come through donations.

“We are in a difficult situation, as we cannot abandon these kids, who might not get another opportunity to educate or learn as some of them have really struggled to get a better life. But we cannot force anyone to donate money to us. So, we are trying to cut down on our expenses, contribute from our own pockets, at least those who can, to pay salaries of over 50 employees working with us, including of drivers, non-clerical staff and hostel caretakers,” Amrita said. They are also sharing ration or any material donations that are coming with their needy staff members. “That’s the most we can do currently,” she said.

Institute of Blind banking on Good Samaritans for help

The Institute of Blind at Gol Bagh, one of the oldest institutes of learning in North India for the visually impaired, too, has been facing fund crunch as voluntary donations have stopped post Covid-19 outbreak. The institute runs multiple academic and vocational programmes for visually impaired and has professionally trained staff, a library and a computer lab to maintain.

“It’s been quite challenging to maintain the overhead expenses since the donation amount was usually used to improve our infrastructure. A few people come and give us food and ration, but our management had to step in and generate funds to pay the salaries of the staff during the lockdown,” said Hari Singh, superintendent, Institute of Blind. He said the institute had been getting aid from the Centre ever since it was established in 1923. “The Central government funds were a big help, but no funding has been granted to us for the past three-four years. Why did the funds stopped coming, even we don’t know.”

Central Khalsa Orphanage worried about fall in donations

Central Khalsa Orphanage, run by the management of Chief Khalsa Diwan, too, has been feeling the pinch of drying up funds. The orphanage provides shelter, runs a school for the kids on its premises, apart from engaging them in outreach activities.

“The fall in donations is a big concern, as there has been a considerable drop especially during the lockdown and after. For now, we have earmarked some amount from the funds of Chief Khalsa Diwan for the orphanage and the old-age home, run under our aegis, as the inmates are our responsibility,” said Nirmal Singh, president, Chief Khalsa Diwan.

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