Interview with Mr. Rick Carlton, Founder and CEO of SevaChild India Foundation

Interview with Mr. Rick Carlton, Founder and CEO of SevaChild India Foundation

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Rick Carlton

Like many backpackers from the Western world, young Rick — a native American — was another traveler in the land of miracles, spirituality, opportunities and compassion when he first went to India to explore its versatility and adaptability more than four decades ago.Falling in love with India, its people and its social rubric, Rick continued to visit India until 2009, when he decided to make India his “Karambhumi (working place).”

Before coming to India, Rick also worked in Caribbean region in seventies creating job opportunities to assist impoverished Carib Indians in Honduras. From the beginning, his mission was to create benefits for India’s underprivileged women and children via the development of a network of partnerships with like-minded NGOs, CSOs & corporate Sector.

In a candid chat with Dr. Anil Jaggi, Editor-in-Chief of CompanyCSR, Mr. Rick Carlton, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of SevaChild India Foundation, spoke about his roadmap for the delivery of relief for the most underserved and vulnerable class of society during these pandemic-challenged times.

Q: Please do share the journey behind Sevachild Foundation.

I had been traveling back and forth to India for many years when I was asked to conduct a research project in 2009 that involved a month-long journey visiting orphanages and child aid organizations throughout India.

It was during that journey that I discovered the dire circumstances faced by children living in poverty; what I witnessed was heart breaking. I was also troubled by the apparent lack of communication between nonprofit organizations that provided aid for these children. These two factors inspired me to found SevaChild International in the United States (USA) and SevaChild India Foundation in 2010.

Q: What was the mission of founding “SevaChild India Foundation” in India and how are you able to manage its functioning with your base in USA?

Our mission was to forge partnerships with Indian NGOs interested in our humanitarian projects, which focused on women and children living in marginalized communities throughout India. By late 2011, we were launching a nationwide nutritional intervention program that protected children from the number one cause of childhood blindness. With the help of our NGO network of partners, that program grew from 2000 children in 2011 to 22,00,000 children in 2019. We added a multi-nutrient program for expecting mothers suffering from anemia in 2019 — helping more than 80,000 women deliver healthy babies that first year. We were saving the lives of women and children through our network of NGOs and volunteers in 19 States throughout India.

Sevachild Foundation

Q: In the present Covid-19 situation of pandemic, how is SevaChild working on its core agenda, and how are you rendering Covid-19-relatedrelief to the needy people?

The COVID-19 outbreak this past February and the subsequent lockdown of the whole country have made it impossible to continue with the nutritional interventions we had been conducting for years. Faced with the challenge of how to continue providing relief for marginalized women and children, we repurposed our mission this past March to provide the PPE kits and food rations so desperately needed as a result of the inability of people in marginalized communities to make the money necessary to purchase food and masks.

Sevachild Foundation

Q: With such a large number of beneficiaries all over India, how are you able to manage &execute your projects effectively?

With a physical presence in 19 Indian States, SevaChild’s network of distribution partners is ready and able to prepare and distribute rations and masks to families in desperate need through long-established contacts in rural villages and urban slums. Our list of partners includes well-known and established NGOs such as the Rural Development Institute (RDI) in Uttarakhand, Bal Umang Drishya Sanstha (BUDS) in Delhi, Ramakrishna Hospital in Vrindavan, Karuna Trust in Bangalore and many others, along with (literally) hundreds of volunteers.

Sevachild Foundation

Q: In the present distress situation with shrinking resources, what is your appeal to our readers to support your mission and how to reach you or your team?

The rations we are providing are surprisingly inexpensive. A Rs. 1500 donation will provide enough nutritious food to feed a hungry family of five for four weeks – plus two masks, and leaflets translated into the local language that illustrate how people can make their own homemade masks out of very inexpensive materials.

SevaChild India Foundation seeks funding from the corporate as well as the private sectors to expand its rations program through its established network of NGOs/CSOs. There is no end in sight to the pandemic’s destruction, and it is assumed that this condition will continue for months to come. Literally millions of Indian men, women and children without food ration cards are at risk of malnutrition and even starvation. Without our support, millions could perish. It takes only Rs. 1500 to provide food for a family of five for four weeks. Whom among us cannot afford to feed at least one of these families for a month? A small donation of Rs. 1500 could be the determining factor in the survival of an entire family in need of support.

SevaChild India Foundation is a Section 8 company; all donations to it are tax deductible to the full extent of the governing law.

Sevachild Foundation

Any concerned individual or organization wanting to support families in dire need of food may donate online at www.sevachild.org/in/donate, or transfer funds directly into our bank account at:
SevaChild India Foundation
Bank: HDFC Bank Ltd
Branch Number: 022-61606161
Account No: 50200010952002
Customer Id: 61096024

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