Who We Are
This site is operated by Radha Swami. In June 2013 Radha Swami legally registered as a non profit organization in Japan (registered identification number: 0133-05-002062), and launched radha-swami.org, an online crowd-funding platform. This site connects local non governmental organizations (“NGOs”) in the developing world with potential contributors like you, and creates new projects, for philanthropic causes, that are made possible by your contributions.
Our aim is to promote creating new projects, through our fundraising platform, for people in need and to help them successfully overcome the challenges they face by providing them with access to the development services of NGOs.
To achieve this, our top priorities are:
1. “Impact of Contribution”: We value only the project that otherwise would not have been impossible to be launched without our services.
2. “Impact of Project”: We ensure that the issues that the NGO is trying to solve with the project is related to development assistance for the underprivileged in developing countries, and the project can make a significant impact on solving the issues.
Key Site Features
1. You are given information on a detailed project budget on every project directory page so that you know how your contributions will be used. When a project is funded, the NGO provides Radha Swami with a monthly auditing report, by the Chartered Accountant, for its project expenditure throughout the project implementation so you know whether the funds are being used according to the project budget. If there is any surplus of contributions over the actual project expenditures, all remaining funds are refunded to you according to the share of each contributor’s contribution. For details, please see our User Agreement.
2. You will receive Thank You Gifts from the NGO in exchange for your contributions. Most of them are made by project’s beneficiaries, so that you can appreciate the impact of your contributions. The type of gifts vary depending on the amount of contribution you make. For details, please see the list of Thank You Gifts in a project directory page.
3. We have designed an All-or-Nothing funding model: contributions to the project will be taken only if the project meets its funding goal within the specified deadline. Otherwise no payment will be taken.
4. The project is operated in developing countries and related to development assistance such as issues of poverty, human rights, health or education.
5. Progress reports from the NGOs for their funded projects are updated early in each month on a project directory page for you to see the overall impact of the project.
Story Behind the Idea
Hi, there! I am Seiya Okawa, a founder and CEO of Radha Swami.
While I was backpacking in Asian and African countries as a college student, I saw so many underprivileged people, such as a boy rickshaw puller who looked like he was a mere 10 years old, a female beggar holding her baby, or beggars whose bodies were intentionally deformed for, obviously, begging. It was then during my travels that I began to wonder what I could do to change the lives of those who suffer or make sure that such misery would never be suffered by any other people. After volunteering with several NGOs, I studied development economics at the graduate school to deepen my knowledge on development assistance.
As a graduate student, I found the area of impact evaluation to be most fascinating, so I wrote a thesis on the impact evaluation of a microcredit program in India. In this type of evaluation, the impact of a project is gauged by comparing the ongoing outcome with an outcome that may have occurred had “the project had not existed”.
Inspired by this study of impacts, I wanted to make my own impact on the lives of people in need. I founded Radha Swami with my Indian partner, Kumari Raunak, after graduating from the grad school.
Then we visited India and tried to undertake a micro-credit project because it was easier for us to do so than making other projects in other countries given that we were familiar with India and micro-credit. However, while there are many people who suffers across the world, we are not able to determine the reason why we implement the project in the location other than familiarity. The fact that everyone who suffers deserves to be helped makes it difficult for us to determine which project should be implemented and whom to choose as the primary beneficiary. These difficulties led us to thinking about what we might need to do to reach people in need worldwide. Ultimately, we came up with the idea of online fundraising to create new projects for causes worldwide.
We thought that operating an online fundraising platform with transparency on how the contributions were used and a platform in which contributors would receive receive thank-you gifts from NGOs or beneficiaries to appreciate the impact of their contributions would enable more people to enjoy supporting NGOs, and thus would help more people in need.
With those thoughts in mind, Radha Swami was born: a crowd-funding platform for causes.