Supporting education in India with board games

Participants pose after finishing the Asha fall run fundraiser. The event is one of the many held to support children’s education. // Photo courtesy of @Asha _Atlanta

Cards and pieces flew through the air on Saturday, Jan 27. as Asha for Education kicked off its Spring 2024 semester with its first event, board game night. Volunteers and supporters from first-year undergraduates all the way to PhD students and professors gathered to play games like WingSpan, Poker, Risk and more while supporting a cause.

Sushil Varma, IE PhD, who has worked with Asha for Education since starting his doctorate, explained the organization’s mission is to “fund the education of underprivileged women and children in India.” With this goal in mind, Asha for Education has supported six separate projects and raised $71,400 last year alone.

Asha for Education’s chapter at Tech has invested this money in some key ways to help as many as possible. One example of its charity is its fund for the children of sex workers. Varma explained that in India, people usually discount the children of sex workers, and their education is not prioritized. This project seeks to change that trend by obtaining the means to recruit and maintain talented educators to provide the quality of education that children of sex workers would likely never receive otherwise.

Other programs supported directly by money raised include vocational training for women so they can provide for themselves or amenities to make going to school easier. The Gram Vikas Trust, another program directly supported by Asha for Education provides bikes to those who otherwise could not get to school and work. When Varma joined, they gave around 30–50 bikes out each year, but through the hard work and dedication of volunteers, that number has soared into the hundreds.

The volunteers managed to achieve this feat, “through plenty of blood, sweat and tears,” Varmasaid. Asha for Education has used its deep network of volunteers on Tech’s campus to expand into a range of ventures to support education in India as much as possible. One key fundraising strategy has been running the concessions at football and basketball games which gives a fun and easy volunteer opportunity for some and life changing help for others across the world.

For students looking to support a good cause while getting some exercise, doing runs with Asha for Education is a great option. Runners eager to support the education of underprivileged youth in India can embark on a 5k, 10k, half marathon or full marathon. 

Runners typically have donation goals and reach out to family, friends and coworkers for support and have been able to raise hundreds of dollars on their own in the past.

Previously, Tech’s chapter put on a charity concert featuring a Grammy nominated band, which raked in tens of thousands of dollars alone. As Asha for Education grows at the Institute and continues to recruit new people with new ideas, these events are sure to become even more common.

To help build the future of Asha for Education at Tech, there are plenty of ways to help out. 

“We always need volunteers,”Varma said. “But once they start coming, they don’t stop. We’ve built something special here that attracts people from all walks of life.

Whether it be through running, volunteering at the concession stand or other opportunities, contributing to this rising charity is a great way to be involved in a bigger cause across the world. For more information, refer to