Education is an essential part of human development. Every child has the right to education. However, the rate of secondary education in India has been low and many kids have been deprived of this basic right. The Founder and Chairperson of Reliance Foundation, Nita Ambani, understood this need and hence launched the Education for All (EFA) initiative.
Nita Ambani’s EFA program
Launched in 2010, EFA aims at offering kids in India access to quality education. It is an initiative by Reliance Foundation and Mumbai Indians in partnership with twelve NGOs. Nita Ambani’s foundation leads the program and the Mumbai Indians team supports it with their active participation and monetary funds. Both the organizations strive to bring a change in the lives of the underprivileged kids and impact their learning processes. Some of the partnered NGOs for the EFA initiative are Sakhi, Yuwa, Aarambh, Ummeed, and Akanksha, among others.
Since its inception, EFA has impacted the lives of around one lakh underprivileged children. EFA focuses on promoting academics and education among underprivileged children, encouraging girls’ education, and conveying life skills to differently-abled kids.
Star cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting campaigned for the cause. The initiative is hailed by all Mumbai Indians fans, sponsors, and sports veterans. The team members and staff are also completely committed to the cause.
Nita Ambani understands the challenges of education in India. A lot of children in the country are deprived of the opportunity to attend school due to poverty, poor health, poor infrastructure, and teaching techniques; while some others drop out early. The initiative is very close to her heart. She believes that education forms a strong foundation for one’s life and every kid should have access to good quality education.
Only a few people know that Nita Ambani was once a teacher, herself. She now operates one of the topmost educational institutions in the world, Dhirubhai Ambani International School. She is passionate about the noble cause of education and devotes her efforts towards the upliftment and overall development of underprivileged kids.
EFA match initiative
Every year under EFA, Nita Ambani takes nearly 18,000 NGO kids, including some differently-abled children from Maharashtra to watch a home match of the Mumbai Indians team at the Indian Premier League (IPL), thereby providing them with a lifetime experience. The children belong to the age group of 7 to 14 years. She believes that such a move can boost awareness about the social cause of education among global fans of the game.
Reliance Foundation books the entire Wankhede stadium on such days and does not open the sale of stand tickets for other people. It arranges over 400 buses and appoints 2000 volunteers to take care of the kids. A team of nurses and doctors along with first aid centers and medical centers are arranged to ensure the safety of the children. All the kids are given Mumbai Indians t-shirts and caps as well. One lakh food boxes are arranged with an average of 5 food boxes for each kid accompanied with beverages and water bottles.
In 2014, Mumbai Indians took nine kids to Dubai for an IPL match. The kids also got an opportunity to meet and interact with their favorite cricketers.
Popularly, IPL is known as an entertaining and money-making activity. But, Mumbai Indians became the first team to prove that IPL can also be associated with a good cause. Many people praise Mumbai Indians for its active involvement in the initiative and believe that it is a good gesture by the team to help fulfill the dreams of thousands of kids.
Other EFA initiatives
Since the launch of the initiative, Nita Ambani has also been organizing fun cricket matches with the children and international players. She believes that cricket is an unusual game that unifies everyone. The kids understand the game very well. The aim of this activity is to motivate the kids to dream big, inculcate aspirational training, and enhance self-belief and self-confidence among them.
Apart from this, Reliance Foundation also organizes Christmas parties for underprivileged kids every year and takes them to Hamley’s store for a number of activities.