“When I was forced to leave my birth country Uganda by dictator Idi Amin, on arriving in USA I had a degree, $100 and support of few friends who also were struggling to settle in the USA”, HC4A founder, Harish Kotecha. The degree helped Harish to get a job in Fortune 500 Company, climb the ladder, raise two successful children, and live the American Dream.
It a heartbreaking to learn that there are 40 million+ people living in poverty (povertyusa.org) and in average 2.5 million children experience poverty in the USA every year. Since it was education that helped Harish, he felt morally obliged to give back to the country that provided him home and success. In 2010, he founded HC4A (Hindu Charities For America), a non-religious 501(c) (3) charity with the Mission:
“Bridge income disparity through education” with the motto “Serve Where You Live ™”.
In Austin, Texas, where Harish resides, he started to understand the scope of problem in Austin area working with Texas Homeless Education Office (THEO.org). He noted that that some families do not have funds to buy school supplies for their children to go to school! In 2010, HC4A launched the school supplies project that from 2012 became a joint service project with HC4A and the Jewish Community in Austin area.
CNBC reports: More Americans are going to college than ever before, but students face unprecedented challenges. Over 44 million Americans collectively hold more than $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and only 54.8 percent of students graduate in six years. This means that millions of Americans are taking on thousands of dollars in debt without a diploma to show for it.
HC4A believes assisting those wanting to seek vocational training has a better success in a building meaningful career for some. HC4A worked with THEO to add vocational training scholarship program in 2014 so that students living below federally defined poverty line can learn work skills leading to job that pay equal or higher wages then living wages. Vocational training jobs are always in demand – we need plumbers, electricians, nurses and so on!
Since then, the Scholarship program has been expanded in Texas to include Houston an Dallas and in California, Los Angeles.
The short video explains the HC4A Programs and progress: