Global poverty is an enormous challenge – both in developing countries, and even in an economic powerhouse like the United States, where millions try to get by on subsidence wages. And whether you’re talking about India or Milwaukee, the plight of children is especially heart-rending.
In India alone, 40 million children lack education, health and opportunities. 22 million children are child laborers, and twenty percent of children between the ages of six and fourteen have no access to primary education.
"We have a large percentage of human capital that is getting wasted right now, and they're not being put to good use as good citizens and contributing to society. So it's a very big problem that if we don't tackle it now, and we don't create sustainable, replicable, and scalable solutions, we are going to lose in the end," Vibha marketing director Nayeem Sayed says.
Through social entrepreneurship, Vibha's mission is to find solutions to poverty and its related challenges both here and in India. "'Vibha' literally in Indian language means 'ray of light,' and in our case it means 'ray of hope,'" Sayed says.
The international organization was created in 1990 to support, what it sees as, sustainable solutions to the systemic problems underprivileged children face. "We are actually the 'social tank,' if you will," Sayed explains. "We are on the other side of the table where social entrepreneurs come to us saying I know how to solve this problem."
Vibha is a primarily volunteer driven organization. In Milwaukee, the organization has partnered with Our Next Generation, a non-profit that provides academic tutoring, enrichment programs and social support to students in the inner city.
"Our missions are aligned. At the end of the day, we both are here to bring together people that want to make a difference in the life of a child," says Our Next Generation CEO LaToya Sykes.
The Mystic India World Tour event at the Riverside Theater this Saturday evening will support Vibha and Our Next Generation.