Subhash Education Society began in 1999 with a simple idea of quality education to masses. There were thousands of deprived children who needed and wanted to be educated .There were many underprivileged who needed the right guidance and skills to make their two ends meet. There were thousands of college students who had the energy, enthusiasm and time to teach. There existed pockets of available spaces located in schools that seemed ideal teaching environments. The simple idea then, was to bring together the three - kids, student volunteers and spaces- in schools for less privileged children run by college students.
The next challenge was to find children and convince them to come. So we started. There were many days when we had just five children in class, when parents said no, when the children spent more time bathing in the basins than sitting in class, when clay ended up on the ceiling and songs were hard to hear. There were days when volunteers asked, "but you said we were going to make a difference. What difference are we making?" And other days where we just knew that one day it would make a difference.
The inspiration to set up SES was the view that capable and caring people rather than material resources are most critical for social development. SES believes that well educated and socially concerned people must work with village communities in the spirit of fraternity to hasten social development. It thus recruited such people from campuses, as well as through word of mouth. It also launched programmes like STEP and Development Associate ship, to encourage individuals to explore grassroots development as a career. Many Development Associates launched their own organisations, using this support.
By 2001 SES stopped placing personnel with other voluntary organizations, directly or indirectly, and began to strengthen and expand its own projects. Begun as pilots, these SES projects developed along sectoral or theme-based lines. By 2003, enhancing poor people's livelihoods more sharply became the focus of SES's work. Using the SHG approach, SES projects worked with women. Projects also promoted sub-sectoral livelihood activities, called "themes". The two over-arching livelihood streams SES worked in were natural resources and micro-enterprises. The natural resource based livelihood program was further grouped into two sub-themes, irrigated agriculture and watershed development. Micro-enterprises were organized sub-sectorally. Major activities included leather, poultry and mushroom cultivation, blacksmith and carpentry.
Given that grassroots work is rooted in a physical location, and livelihood opportunities too are location dependent, in the past two years SES has shifted from a sectoral approach to work in modular, geographically compact areas, following an area saturation approach.
Subhash Educational Society was promoted and technically supported by a group of professionals committed to provide quality education to the young, the underprivileged and the needy. It strived for making the idea of a society consisting of educated and socially developed citizens from rural backgrounds who may walk together and solve their problems. It encompassed all sections of educated irrespective of caste, creed or race.
SES is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. It placed special focus on working alongside poor women because, equipped with the proper resources, women have the power to help whole families and entire communities escape poverty. Women were at the heart of SES's community-based efforts to improve basic education, prevent the spread of HIV, increase access to clean water and sanitation, expand economic opportunity and protect natural resources. SES also delivered emergency aid to survivors of natural disasters, and helped people rebuild their lives.