Guman Singh Churung had established the Sikkim Himalayan Academy (SHA) with the noble intention of giving opportunity to students from underprivileged background. Nestled on the forested mountain slopes of west Sikkim, SHA seeks out children belonging to needy families, often from remote areas of the State, and provides them with free quality education from nursery to Class V. Founded in 2003 by a group of local Sikkimese teachers and volunteers, the residential school was being run on funds contributed by generous individuals.
However, of late, the school is facing a severe cash crunch and the threat of shutting down is looming large over it. Guman Singh Gurung, Principal of SHA has turned to the crowdfunding platform, Ketto, and initiated a fund raiser with the goal of reaching Rs7,50, 000 in the next 20 odd days.
Regarding the school, Gurung says, ‘Most of our students come from homes where the environment is not conducive to learning. To address this, the school is coupled with a hostel facility, and it provides free shelter, food and clothing.’
He also said that the change in government policy has made the non-profit sector vulnerable. ‘While the policies and campaigns of the current government such as Startup India have boosted investment in the entrepreneurship sector, it has, to some extent, left the non-profit sector vulnerable. Several donors, such as our previous ones, have shifted their focus to now invest their resources on interventions that are backed with a business model and a sustainability plan. While this may be relevant for the long term, it’s important to understand that given the complex socio-economic structure of India, non-profit approach is a must on several fronts; primary education, especially in rural parts, being one such front’ he says.