Illiteracy remains a concerning issue in India, with the literacy rate in our country at barely 75 percent. The figures are further unimpressive when we break it up on the basis of gender. As per the 2011 census, the rate of literacy for men is over 80 percent, but for women, it is just 65.5 percent. However, a number of women have devoted their lives to resolve the education crisis in the country, especially focussing on developing educational opportunities for the marginalized sections of society. Here are five women who have set up non profits in the field of education that you must know about.
Roshni Mukherjee established ExamFear Education after quitting her job at a leading multinational company. The idea was to use the power of the internet. She decided to run a virtual school by using the internet which reaches thousands of students all over the world who are willing to learn.
She began uploading her teaching videos on YouTube in 2011 while she was still employed with Wipro. Having gotten positive responses, she left her job and worked towards her goal full time. Her teaching methods have attracted more than 75,000 subscribers. She uses examples from daily life to explain the concepts of science. Her plan is to make these videos available in regional languages for students living in remote areas.
An inclusive education environment is still a distant goal in India. Therefore, Vasudha and her staff trains schools to accommodate children with special needs.
Vasudha Prakash did her PhD from the USA and has written research papers on special schools in India. A lot of parents reached out to her about the dearth of special schools in India after her appearance on a program. Thus she founded V-Excel, a learning center that caters to students with special needs.
An inclusive education environment is still a distant goal in India. Therefore, Vasudha and her staff trains schools to accommodate children with special needs. V-Excel teaches kids with developmental disabilities to cope with their studies through art, music, occupational therapy and movement play.
She has also established a vocational training center where the students learn chores such as car washing, gardening, cooking, etc. The students at the Chennai center make things like bags, mugs, and sanitary pads to name a few. Vasudha says that changing the mindset of parents still remains the biggest deterrent.
Adrianna Tan is an advocate of underprivileged children’s education. Her foundation, The Gyananda Foundation works towards improving the education levels, especially among underprivileged girls.
While visiting India, she found that many girls from poverty-stricken communities didn’t get to complete their education till even 10th standard, since they are married off by their parents. Today she enables girl students to get opportunities to empower themselves after attaining a basic education.
Muktaben lost her eyesight at a young age. However, she went on to complete her diploma in teacher’s training for the blind and also got herself a BA degree in Arts with first class.
Along with her husband, Pankajbhai Dagli, also visually impaired, she opened Pragnachaksu Mahila Seva Kunj – a nonprofit school for blind and visually impaired women in 1995 in Surendranagar, Gujarat. 400 students have graduated from this institute adorned with various skills like computer coding in different languages and teaching apart from Braille studies. Some are even trained to become electrical engineers, beauticians, and chefs.
She has organized 164 prospering weddings within the last decade for visually impaired couples; Muktaben believes empathy is a precious gift in such an arrangement.
Muktaben and Pankajbhai decided to never have children of their own, however, they adopt blind girls abandoned by their parents to provide them a far better life.
Geeta established Katha 28 years ago. Starting out as a one-woman institution, today Katha runs schools for the underprivileged children in about 252 slums in various locations like Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh, Haryana and Maharashtra.
She began by publishing a kids’ magazine – Tamasha to teach children from the less fortunate communities through vibrant illustrations and stories on health, environment and women’s empowerment. Soon the magazine reached about 30,000 schools.
Geeta realised that many parents were reluctant to send their children to school as they could not afford the fees. She decided to help the women of these households to earn about a thousand rupees a month by training them in various activities like baking, cooking, embroidery in training labs. Today, Katha helps over 20,000 women increase their household income by ten folds.
With several of Geeta’s students joining colleges and several others having gone to pursue professions like medicine, engineering, and teaching. With over 9,00,000 kids helped out of impoverishment, 21,500 of them in IT and 90,000 ladies earning money through their skills, Geeta is not about to slow down any time shortly.
Image Credit: The Hindu
Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV