However there are some basic amenities like desks, seats, books, good fans, sports equipment, a well maintained play area, craft materials, and other teaching aids that are not available to them. Saumya wanted to make all of these and more available to her students. She believes that an exposure trip for some of these students away from the impoverished conditions would be extremely useful for them and would open up a whole new world for them. Seeing this is slowly making Saumya less motivated and is starting to make her give up on her hopes for her students.
This is not just the story of Saumya, According to a report by The Economist millions of children in India are studying in similar schools with poor infrastructure and lack funds to invest in small exposure trips and activities.
Such conditions and other circumstances have resulted in some startling statistics. 50% of 10 year olds in India cannot read a paragraph meant for 7-year olds. At 15, pupils in Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh are 5 years behind their peers in Shanghai. The average 15-year-old from these states would be in the bottom 2% of an American class.
Why teachers are key and what is the initiative we want to drive?
Teachers play a very important role in education ecosystem. They are the ones who create magic in classrooms and are closest to see what more can be provided to the students. Many times these deficiencies can be very easily removed by making some resources available to the teachers.
With our initiative we want to survey the various areas where we can contribute resources to teachers. Once we have identified these clearly we will then identify some sources with support from the MSF team from which these can be obtained at a reasonable quality and price. We will then create an online mechanism for teachers to request for these resources so that we can raise funds and provide these to the teachers from our suppliers and also allow teachers to provide proof that these were put to their intended use.
Who are we?
We are a group of students from IIM Kashipur pursuing our Post Graduate Diploma in Management. We had applied for an internship at MSF and have gotten immensely inspired by the foundation's mission. We are helping raise fund for the "Being Teachers : The Real Superhumans" initiative at MSF.
Million Sparks Foundation (MSF), a Google funded non-profit organization is making an attempt at providing resources to teachers to allow them to impact learning outcomes better. They also aim to run a campaign to highlight the impact that teachers have on each of our lives. They are building a platform called “Being Teachers: The Real Superhumans” which will provide opportunities to teachers from schools in rural areas to appeal to a global community to help them raise funds for specific projects for the development of schools, classrooms, students and their own professional development.
MSF is already successfully running a mobile centric capacity building platform called 'ChalkLit’ which helps teachers improve their classroom transaction, develop a deeper conceptual & pedagogical clarity, and connect for latest updates in education and for peer learning through a social community . They have trained over 25000 teachers across 6 Indian states and 10000 schools and are working with another 1 lakh teachers this quarter.
About "Being Teachers: The Real Superhumans"
The platform- “Being Teachers” has three sections
1. Fund my classroom
Under Fund My Classroom section teachers can approach the global community for supporting small improvements in their classrooms from a list of possible resources. For example, they can raise funds to buy visual aids, a trip for a few students, , or order new desks, etc with an objective to make a positive impact on the students education. We believe a teacher is the best person to decide what is required to improve their effectiveness, be it books, technology, facilitating classroom activities or organizing a little exposure trip for her kids. Here, role of MSF will be limited to validation, aggregation and fulfillment of teacher's requirements.
Stories section will celebrate success stories of either individuals or groups who have made significant impact in their classrooms. This content will be promoted over different social media handles to create an environment of social recognition for teachers. We need to spread the real stories of our superheroes that inspire happiness, positivity and inclusivity. Because stories are powerful!
Under Shop section we will create merchandise celebrating teaching as a profession, to instill greater respect in the society at large for teachers and education. It will also act as alternative gifting opportunity for students and parents to give to their teachers. A significant portion of the profits generated from sale of merchandise would be used to create awareness about the importance of teachers and will be reinvested in the cause of teacher capacity building in the rural areas of India.
How can you help?
You can donate any amount as no amount is too small, the intent is what matters.
If you believe in what we do, please share the link to our campaign with your friends and relatives and help us reach our funding goal.
We along with Saumya and millions of teachers like her will be eternally grateful.