The Indian Students Educational Aid Foundation, known as ISEAF (https://iseaf.org/), is the legacy of the far-sighted vision of one man, a German national named Rudolf Schwartz who visited Goa for the first time in 1991.
As he walked along its pristine shores, his heart was moved with compassion when he saw poor and underprivileged students who should have been in school, but could not be there.
Within four years, he had established and registered the ISEAF at Siolim, Goa and began remitting money regularly to financially assist the full education of poor students. He started off with helping just four students, but that number soon rose to 150 of them every year!!
Five years ago, when he found that age was catching up and there would be no one to continue the work after him, he decided to stop inviting applications from new students. In another two years, the last of the former beneficiaries will have completed the education of their choice, and then he will totally stop the remittances.
So far, nearly four thousand students have been given this financial assistance to complete their studies in various fields such as medicine, nursing, pharmacy, engineering, law, chartered accountancy, graduation, postgraduation, etc.
Apart from the financial assistance for students, he has built 3 Vocational Institutes, also called Industrial Training Institutes (ITI’s) with the help of the ISEAF. Two of them are in Siolim and one is in Pernem.
Every year around 400 students are being trained in these institutes in different job-oriented trades like Turner, Plumber, Electrician, Refrigeration & Air Conditioning, Motor Mechanic, Computer Software, Beautician, Fashion Designing & Tailoring, Hotel Management, and Home Nursing.
The past Hon. President Mr. Jacob Mathew has penned down the history of ISEAF and the biography of Rudolf Schwartz which can be read here. Rudolf not only helped students, but his big heart reached out to orphans, to the medical needs of the student community of ISEAF and also to some local charities. Some details of his magnanimity are to be found in the book mentioned above.
The Mission Statement of ISEAF is very creditable, as it is committed to empower students of India with love, compassion and respect, by helping them to pursue careers more appropriate to their likes and abilities, through its Vocational Institutes of the highest quality.
As of now, approximately 7000 students have completed their training from these 3 institutes. Most of them are working as technicians in different firms in India and even abroad. Besides, a few of them are even having their own establishments and are self-employed!!
The important thing to note is that the fees which are being charged to study in these ITI’s is very low, and is a fraction of that compared to other private institutes!
No one is denied admission if unable to pay the fees. The staff try to get donors to pay the fees for them, and in many a case even if not able to get, the trainee completes the course free of charge.
In all this, the staff of ISEAF are the people to be saluted, since they are being paid wages which are barely above the minimum. Yet they have been toiling year after year, to help underprivileged students to be able to stand up in society on their own feet with dignity.
The urgent need has now arisen for the ISEAF to have its own source of funds and to wean itself from foreign dependence so that it can continue the excellent work which it has been doing, even when the source of foreign funds dries up! Hence, a Corpus Fund was started with the objective of raising enough money so that the interest from it would be able to sustain the running expenses. As of now, the balance in it is nowhere near the sustainable target.
Because of inflation and the steady increase in the standard of living, the government is thinking of raising the minimum wage to Rs. 21,000/-. For this reason, ISEAF needs to be able to enhance the payment to all its staff so that at least they get a decent wage.
Mr. Gerard Delaney told ItsGoa that last month when he became the Hon. President of the organization, the first thing that he did was to get a simple website made. With its help, anyone can go online and see for themselves the tremendous work which this NGO is doing for India.
ISEAF now humbly appeals to all people to contribute to its Corpus fund and help to make it reach its target. Donations can be made on its site with Indian or foreign currency at https://iseaf.org/donation/. All donations to the Corpus fund from Indians will be eligible for income tax rebate, under Sec. 80G.