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NIA - A ray of hope is an approved 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the state of California, USA. All donations to NIA are fully tax-deductible.

Mission

To empower girls in developing countries and help them realize their dreams through education.

History

NIA’s president and founder started a pilot program in 2001 to financially support womens’ education in Dhalavoipuram, a small village in Tamil Nadu in southern India. The founder himself had been the benefactor of a helping hand, at a time when he direly needed the money to continue his college education. The timely support by an unknown person made a significant impact on his life. He felt the burning need to pass on this gift to as many people as possible. As part of the pilot program he financed the education of 30 girls from Dhalavoipuram. One of the students he supported went on to win the Tamil Nadu Governor’s Gold Medal for academic excellence. She eventually became a lecturer, teaching English at a local community college, and became a firm supporter of NIA’s cause.

Energized by her progress and motivated by the need for such opportune help, NIA's founder shared his vision and her story with a close group of friends and Nia was born. Nia brings together people who:

Inspiration


Have you ever thought of tomorrow?

You probably have, and not just of tomorrow, but of the day after and of many years down the line as well. You probably envisioned your future and you probably have all that is required to get to that place in future.

Do you know that "future" is a very distant dream for many around the world? That is especially true for those in developing nations and more so for women in those societies.



Why is this future a distant dream?

There are many reasons, but money is a common factor. Poverty is a reality for the multitudes living in the developing world. Education can help them out of this malaise. However, people with meager incomes often cannot educate all their children and when they have to choose, they usually choose their sons over their daughters. One driver is the common belief that sons will grow up and support the family while daughters would have to be "given away" in marriage. Hence, women’s education and literacy levels continue to trail men’s even though women typically outperform men academically.



What's the result?

Many women grow up to be illiterate. They are forced into marriage at an age when they should be in school, and often become mothers while very young themselves. They lack the choices and opportunities available to educated women and many of these girls are financially dependent on their spouses for their entire lives. This not only leads to societal issues like population growth, low income, and health problems because of early, and frequent, child birth, it also tends to perpetuate this vicious cycle of illiteracy, poverty and dependence.



What if it was otherwise?

Imagine this: what if these girls had the tools to shape their future? What if they were all educated and had the jobs that gave them the freedom to choose their lives? If every girl could have this opportunity, what would be the impact on society?

Educating girls can help break the vicious cycle of illiteracy. An educated girl will most likely send her children to school as well. The truth is, when you educate a girl, you educate an entire family!



NIA Team
Mr. Arun Manickavasagam, President (Founder), USA
Mr. Bala Balasubramanian, Finance and co-founder, USA
Mrs. Monja Mani, Fund-raising events, USA
Mr. Velu Murugan, Operations and co-founder, India
Mrs. Vanitha Jeyaprakash, Online Marketing, USA

Facilitators
Mr. Marimuthu, India
Mrs. Indrani, India
Ms. Vallabi, India

NIA Alumni
Mr. Munish Sivagurunath, India
Mrs. Priya Selvaraj, India
Mr. Nirmal Chandrasekharan, USA
Mrs. Vasumati Jakkal, USA
Mrs. Janhvi Jakkal, USA