"Peace is in our hands, all it takes is education."
- Ram Gawande (1934-2011)
Who We Are
Ram and Sushi Gawande formed the Student and Education Support Association (SESA) in 1992 with the goal of supporting education in their home communities in India and Southeast Ohio.
The Gawandes lived in Athens, Ohio for over 40 years and wanted to give back to their community in one of the poorest regions in the United States. Today, SESA supports students and education systems by providing project grants for GSG-Ohio University collaborations, funding scholarships and emergency loans for university students, and establishing the Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University.
SESA believes that access to education is essential in promoting opportunities and combatting poverty. Using the Gawandes’ personal knowledge of their communities’ needs, SESA can effectively support students in attaining an improved quality of life for themselves and their families.
Additionally, SESA has supported numerous projects in India’s Yavatmal district where Ram Gawande grew up and much of his family still resides. Yavatmal is one of the least developed regions in India, suffering from inadequate infrastructure investment and high levels of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and morbidity. In order to help students escape poverty, SESA has supported numerous improvements to the local Gopikabai Sitaram Gawande (GSG) College, a co-educational college formed by the community. Some of these projects include the addition of new college buildings, providing free use computers for students and faculty, and investing in clean water infrastructure. With SESA’s help, GSG College has become a nationally accredited college that provides quality education and improved employment opportunities. Many of GSG College’s students have gone on to become teachers, lawyers, engineers, doctors, and government workers who continue to give back their communities.
Sitaram Gawande College
There are approximately 300 districts in India considered “Backwards Regions” due to inadequate infrastructure and severe levels of poverty, hunger, illiteracy and morbidity. Umarkhed in Yavatmal district, Maharashtra is one of those “Backward Regions.” In 1984, a local community group sought to build a college in hopes that education would give them the tools to face their challenges.
Maati Paani Asha
For the last 20 years, over 10,000 farmers per year have ended their own lives, with the epicenter being in eastern Maharashtra. SESA has been working here since the 1990s to provide farmers’ and their families with educational opportunities to alleviate economic and environmental stresses.
Ohio University's Partnership with GSG College
The partnership emerged from SESA's establishment of the Ram and Sushila Gawande India Endowment at Ohio University in 2012, which provides funding for an Ohio University faculty or student, on average one per year, to travel to GSG College to study, teach, conduct research, or provide services.