From illiteracy to empowerment via technology

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13th June 2016
Dear supporters,
I am Vishnu Rao, a Milaap Open fellow from Bangalore. I met up with Team Krishna over the weekend and had a chat with them about their work. When I met them, they had all just finished pulling off an all nighter after five continuous days of regular work. Still they were all kind enough to let me interview them. All the members in the team are volunteers and  they have regular 9-5 jobs on weekdays. They work on this project on evenings and weekends.
The problem statement put out to them is simple -  develop software that can help tackle the issue of illiteracy. Easier said than done I realized. The software will have to go through a rigorous judging process and will be tested on field in Tanzania. This requires all teams to incorporate the native Swahili language into their software's. 
Two members of the team have actually started learning the language from scratch to get this done. Just shows the lengths to which they are willing to go. Nearly 600+ teams showed interest for the competition, but only 192 ended up qualifying for the finals, owing to this specification of building the software in Swahili too. 
Their aim is to gamify learning by creating a highly interactive interface. The key, they say is to take into consideration the fact that children have a very short attention span. The game has to be very interesting enough to keep them hooked onto it.Their technology solution has elements of machine learning (AI) which directs the children's learning and provides feedback in real time, in-built assessments, and internationally curated curriculum. 
The team  comprises  people from various backgrounds working together to change the world. This helps them learn from each other and think out of the box. Design, Curriculum and Technology, all three need to be in perfect sync with each other to help bring about the best product.
The spirit within the team is impressive. They are driven, and are willing to give their best. Every single obstacle, however imposing, can be tackled. I could clearly make out that their ambitions were not just confined to this competition alone. The very idea of helping bring change was good enough motivation for them.
Below are some photos of the team and the work they have done.




Why are we fundraising? 

There are 250 million children around the world cannot read, write, or do basic arithmetic. UNESCO estimates a 12% drop in world poverty if all children in developing countries had basic reading skills. Many of these children are in developing countries without regular access to schools or teachers. There are not enough teachers to meet the demand of learners in the world!
We are a new approach. One that will remove the barriers to a quality learning experience regardless of location or economic status.

We are working hard to develop open source software (available for free once built) for children to teach themselves reading, writing and arithmetic!

Our gamification of learning will allow children to interact with the learning environment for longer periods of time. Our technology solution has elements of machine learning (AI) which directs the children's learning and provides feedback in real time, in-built assessments and internationally curated curriculum. We believe that it is time to democratize learning. 


What do we plan to do with the funds?


As part of the Global Learning XPRIZE Challenge, we will release the first leg of our software in November 2016, both in English and Swahili. Winning teams will be supported to field test their software on 100 villages,  and assess the impact of the software on predetermined learning metrics. 

As believers in the goodness of men and women, we have been working from the start as a volunteer team, with support from across India and internationally! We are deeply grateful to our entire team of volunteers!  At this stage in our journey, however, we are in need of funds to access some quality resources to enable the software to reach the quality benchmarks we have created for ourselves.
Any amount you donate, will go a long way in helping us build a high quality learning environment. Join us to lift generations out of illiteracy!!

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Rs.501,452
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