Muscat: Having provided scholarships to 16 underprivileged students in 2018, Indian School Muscat’s Alumni Association (ISMA) now wants to reach out to more children in need this year.
As part of their commitment to giving back to Indian School Muscat, ISMA raised and gave OMR2,500 to pay for one academic term for the 16 students, all of whom came from financially weak backgrounds.
All of the families to which these children belonged earned monthly salaries of less than OMR300. Six of the students were from single-parent families, while three students’ parents didn’t have any source of income, either due to economic constraints, loss of employment, the loss of a parent, or other personal problems.
ISMA’s charitable activities for 2019 will see them attempt to raise more funds for school students, with a charity cricket match scheduled to take place on Friday, 5 April 2019, from 2-11pm at the Oman Cricket Association’s grounds in Al Amerat.
“Last year, we gave scholarships to 16 underprivileged children who could not afford their own education,” said Mukund Manohar, President, ISM Alumni Association (ISMA). “We chose two children from each of the grades between class V and class XII. We gave priority to firstly, children of single parents, particularly single mothers, because they often cannot afford the financial responsibility of education, which is something no family should go through.
“We also considered children whose fathers have very menial jobs,” he added. “Some of the children’s parents for example work as gas station attendants or in workshops, so they may not always have the financial means to provide for their child’s education. In total, we gave one term’s tuition, about OMR 2,500, to these 16 children. This money was directly credited to the school’s fee account, so that the parents don’t have to pay the fees themselves.”
56 former students of Indian School Muscat have come forward to play in this game, and at an Indian Premier League-style auction on Wednesday evening, were drawn into four teams. However, the number of requests from both alumni and non-alumni to be included in the game was far higher, pointing the way for even greater participation the next time around.
“We have a rule in place to ensure minimum field time for all players, so everyone plays,” said Manohar. “This is our humble start in giving back to the school community and to those truly deserving of this. This scholarship will be a continuous initiative and we hope this start helps get the word out to all our alumni worldwide. Our goal is to raise scholarship funds through various events like our cricket tournament and also through our Kindle Initiative that provides a platform for Alumni and well-wishers to contribute directly to this fund”
“We were strict when it came to certain criteria for selecting eligible students,” explained Manohar. “For example, only students who had received aggregate marks of above 70% were eligible for this. Going forward, we want to be able to help more students, and with this year’s funds, we want to help a least two students all the way from kindergarten to grade XII.”
Suketu Limbani, himself an ISM alumnus an captain of one of the teams, said it was the responsibility of people to give back to their alma mater, should they have the means to do so.
“All of us here are humbled to be part of this and we have a responsibility to give back to our school, because it is the school that has made us who were are today,” he told Times of Oman. “Yes, we are all working professionals, but for the next few weeks, after we finish work, we will meet together to train and to practice, because we have to take this seriously. Yes, it will mean more commitment from our side, but I think all of us are prepared to do this because it is for a good cause.
“The good thing here is that no one needs to be convinced too much to help the school, because we all came through the same school and we have the same mentality,” added Limbani, who will captain one of the four teams, and finished school in 2002. “We are now in a position where we are able to give back, and it is not fair that a child should be denied his education because of financial constraints. I think it is very important for everyone to give back, however they can. That’s why we have these events. If you cannot spend money, then you can give your time, you can help organise things, there are many things you can do to help out.”