What is The Shanty Trust?
You may not recognise the Shanty Trust. With the support of four other trustees, I set up this UK registered trust almost a year ago. I have been fundraising for Tiljala SHED via the Global Giving crowdfunding platform for five years. And for 4 and a half years everything went very smoothly until Global Giving, which is a US 501(c)3 non-profit, found it was no longer able to remit funds direct to Indian NGOs. The Indian Home Ministry is very wary of India’s charitable sector for various historical reasons and has blocked Global Giving for 15 months now. When this happened, Global Giving offered Tiljala SHED the option of channelling funds via a non-Indian NGO which would act as a “fiscal sponsor”. So I set up The Shanty Trust for this reason. It took almost 5 months, but on March 10th, when the Shanty Trust’s bank account finally opened, we were able to apply for fiscal sponsor status. It seemed like a miracle when a full $18,000 of blocked funds from Global Giving dropped into the account and I waited with bated breath for the first remittance to arrive in Kolkata. It took a long time as the world was in COVID lockdown—but it arrived. And not a moment too soon. Things have run smoothly ever since.
What is Tiljala SHED
Tiljala SHED is an Indian registered charity founded 33 years ago by Md Alamgir and friends. They were a group of young men from a very marginalised community who had managed to lift themselves from poverty through education. Tiljala SHED continues to work in some of Kolkata’s poorest and most marginalised neighbourhoods. Tiljala SHED works in 4 main areas:
- Rights and Entitlements. Ensuring all their beneficiaries are fully documented and are able to understand and assert their rights
- Women’s Empowerment: supporting livelihoods through vocational training and microfinance for women
- Child Education: Provision of wraparound educational support through child sponsorship programmes and through community after school clubs in our community centres
- Emergency relief – through food, medical and other practical care
Costs of running Tiljala SHED and The Shanty Trust
In terms of costs, everything I do is entirely free of charge and I cover all the costs of visiting India and running The Shanty Trust. In India we keep administrative costs to 20%. This is more than covered by Gift Aid on UK donations and bonus payments we earn on Global Giving. So each donor should be happy that every penny, cent or rupee donated is spent directly on the project.
What about Global Giving?
Global Giving remains a highly effective fundraising platform. Global Giving not only handles donations from our own network but connects us with individuals and organisations we could never otherwise reach. Moreover, this year they provided two large grants: Facebook had raised funds for victims of Cyclone Amphan and channelled funds to Tiljala SHED via Global Giving. Then Tiljala SHED was awarded a further large COVID recovery grant which has enabled us to kickstart the education programme and relaunch our regular programmes which were put on hold through lockdown. Finally, Global Giving runs several campaigns a year where they offer match funding of up to 50% for a limited time. This is a great way to bring in donations. So I felt it was really important to stick with Global Giving despite the problems with remitting funds – which is how The Shanty Trust came about.
Chair of Trustees
The Shanty Trust