Frequently Asked Questions
Swami Dayananda Saraswati, visionary, profound thinker, writer and an eminent scholar of Vedanta and Sanskrit, is the founder of AIM for Seva.Who is behind the management of the organization?
AIM for Seva is a registered Charitable Trust and the Board of Trustees includes corporate leaders and management experts who are keen to contribute towards the development of India. The day-to-day operational activities, planning and administration are handled by the Managing Trustee and Secretary. Read more about our team here.
Who runs the projects of AIM for Seva throughout the country?
Students and devotees of Swami Dayananda Saraswati committed to seva, coordinate and administer AIM for Seva projects.What are the core areas of work that AIM for Seva is involved in?
The main focus of AIM for Seva is as an enabler of education, particularly in tribal and rural areas, by helping children attend a nearby school.
What is your model of project implementation?
Unlike many other voluntary organisations, AIM for Seva adopts a direct delivery model, i.e. we design and deliver projects ourselves rather than through a third party. This ensures the organisations purpose remains on course and coupled with the system of volunteering inherent in the governance of the organisation, helps keep our overheads to less than 10% of costs.
Is AIM for Seva a religious organization?
AIM for Seva’s programs are truly secular. It reaches out to all people in need irrespective of religion, community or nationality.
Free Student Home (FSH) and Other Projects
In what way is an FSH different from an orphanage?
Generally a hostel means a place where children are given boarding and lodging facilities alone.
However, at the AIM for Seva FSH, we not only take care of these two basic necessities, but also provide all that is required for a healthy upbringing of a child.
In our vision, for a holistic development, one needs to pay attention to the growth of a child in three main areas namely: giving emotional security, developing cognitive & intellectual skills, and finally, overall character building.
The programs at our FSH are designed to take care of each of these aspects. The nurturing environment of our student homes ensures emotional well- being of children. Through private academic tuitions, computer and language classes, intellectual growth of children are taken care of. Finally, classes on values and ethics focus on overall personality development for making these children responsible citizens of India.
Why is AIM for Seva building Free Student Homes and not schools?
Building a school in each village requires large-scale economic and human resources.Further, it is very difficult to get qualified, trained teachers, willing to work in tribal and rural areas. Therefore, the Free Student Home program is a more viable option.
Your website talks of 129 projects, while the number of FSH is lower. What are these other projects?
The main programme activity of AIM for Seva is in education, in helping poor children in rural India to gain access to a nearby school. In addition, in certain geographical regions, projects in healthcare, rural development, running of schools and environmental conservation are being run. This is to meet specific local needs. The organisation’s core activity will remain in providing education in rural India.
How do you select the students who enrol themselves in the FSH?
A cluster of 10-15 villages is first identified in a particular area. We visit the government school in that area, announce our intention to start an FSH, and explain the idea behind it. We invite applications from children who are in need of support.
The criteria of selection are:
We shortlist the most deserving students based on the above criteria. Subsequently we visit their homes to verify the information before we admit them.
Is institutionalization of children desirable?
While it is desirable for children to stay with their parents , lack of access to school , lack of awareness of importance of education and difficult or problematic family circumstances, require the students to stay in a conducive atmosphere. A student home provides the necessary environment.
How do you get the consent of the parents?
We meet the parents of the children and explain the importance of education , the concept of the FSH and the philosophy of AIM for Seva and its founder.
What is the age group of children you admit in the FSH?
Normally we admit children between the 8 and 12 years of age. They stay with us until they complete their higher secondary education (12th standard).
We prefer taking in younger students, so that they stay with us for at least 3-4 yrs. This gives us an opportunity to help them grow into responsible and honest citizens of India.
What about the legal implications of enrolling these children in an FSH?
At the time of admitting the children, the parents sign an application form, which includes their consent to caring for their child/ward in our FSH. We comply with all legal requirements related to the care of children according to the laws of the respective states and the central government.
Who takes care of these children at the FSH?
We have regional coordinators who administer two or more student homes in a particular area. Specially trained wardens manage the day-to-day running of the FSH.
AIM for Seva is highly committed to educating the girl child.
At present, of the 96 FSH, 19 are exclusively for girls. We also run a school for girls in Khategoun, Madhya Pradesh.
Do you charge any fees from the students?
No. AIM for Seva student homes provides complete care , including clean living quarters, nutritious food, regular health check-up, school needs, clothes, extra coaching in academics, sports, yoga and much more, free of cost.
Do the students visit their family?
We encourage parents to visit their children at specified intervals. Students go home to their parents for Deepavali and during summer vacation.
Support & Donations
How can I support your work?
Please see the details at our AIM for Seva USA Website
Can I volunteer my services to AIM for Seva?
Yes, AIM for Seva has several opportunities for volunteers. Due to the remote nature of our projects, one-day/weekend volunteer opportunities are limited. Please fill out the contact form for more information.
What percentage of my donation reaches the students benefited by AIM for Seva?
As AIM for Seva works on a direct delivery model, owning and operating most of our projects, our overhead costs are very low at less than 8%.
Will I get a tax exemption for my donation?
If you are a taxpayer in the US: Yes, donations to AIM for Seva are eligible for a tax exemption under 501 (c) (3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.
Can we visit one of your student homes?
Yes, but we need prior notice and clearance by the central office in Chennai. On receipt of a request for visit, a guidance note and a pro-forma will be sent to the visitor to complete . If you are a visitor from the USA or Canada, the request for visit has to go to your country coordinator in the first instance. Other visitors, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can we donate old clothes?
No, we do not accept any used items, except books and electronics in good condition, for hygiene and safety reasons.
Can I sponsor a specific child?
No, AIM for Seva does not believe in singling out beneficiaries. You are, however, welcome to support one child for perpetuity from a specified student home, through our ACE fund. For more details, please contact us.
I want the guests at my daughter’s wedding to donate to AIM for Seva instead of giving us any money, with due acknowledgement given to their contribution. Can I do that?
AIM for Seva has specially formatted gift cards for just this occasion. Please contact us over email or use our Contact form to know more.
My company wants to expand its CSR activities, and we are looking only for project-based partnerships. Does AIM for Seva have any such projects?
Yes, many companies and banks are sponsoring projects under their CSR programme. Please contact our Director – Strategy and Resource Management at email@example.com.
I live abroad, and don’t see a local AIM for Seva address listed on the web site. How can I help create an AIM for Seva chapter here?
We welcome people who want to join the movement and spread the word around. Please contact us here with more information, and we can together build a strong presence of AIM for Seva in your country.